Thakur to be new Himachal BJP chief

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: To end the squabbling in its State unit, the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership has decided to install sitting MLA Jai Ram Thakur as the president of the party in Himachal Pradesh. This was decided after prolonged consultations among central party leaders and leaders of the hill State.

Confirming this, the party general secretary in-charge of Himachal Pradesh, Sahib Singh Verma, said Mr. Thakur's name had been finalised and conveyed to the State BJP leaders including former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and former Union Minister Shanta Kumar.

The name, he said, was approved after consultations with various party leaders and was given the final go ahead by the party president, Rajnath Singh. The formal installation of Mr. Thakur will take place on January 5. "I will be going to Shimla along with the national election in-charge O.P. Kohli to complete the formalities for the formal election of Mr. Thakur who is a sitting MLA from Chachoit Assembly constituency in Mandi district and is an old hand in organisational matters,'' he added.

While Mr. Dhumal had been lobbying for installation of former Rajya Sabha member Kripal Parmar as the new chief, this was opposed by Mr. Shanta Kumar and the outgoing BJP president Suresh Bhardwaj. Mr. Kumar had been lobbying for the candidature of former Speaker Radha Raman Shastri and another local BJP leader, Bal Nahata, for the post. He had strongly opposed the name of Mr. Thakur. After the intervention of the central leadership both Mr. Kumar and Mr. Dhumal agreed to Mr. Thakur as the new chief.

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