Prem Kumar Dhumal, who faced a shocking defeat in the Assembly elections, is still in the race of state chief minister.
BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the 2017 Himachal Assembly Election in Sujanpur constituency was defeated by Congress candidate Rajinder Rana. Others who are in the race for the post of CM include JP Nadda, Jai Ram Thakur, Rajiv Bindal and Anurag Thakur.
After Congress leader and outgoing CM Virbhadra Singh, Dhumal is considered the most popular political leader in the state. According to the TEHELKA sources, as many as 26 MLAs have lobbied behind Dhumal and want to see him as the chief minister of the state.
After the party announced his name for the post of the chief minister, BJP campaign in the election caught speed and finally it won 44 seats out of total 68 seats in the state assembly.
Sources said that all the BJP MPs including Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah in New Delhi on Dec 20 and congratulated them for party’s victory. Interestingly winning MLAs are frequently meeting Dhumal at his private residence at Samirpur in Hamirpur district. Sources confirmed that atleast one dozen MLAs offered to vacate their seats for Dhumal.
This is also an interesting factor that despite landslide victory in the assembly elections most of the winning candidates didn’t arrange victory marches just because of Dhumal’s defeat in the election. This indicates that most of the winning BJP candidates are in favour of Dhumal and this may put the party high command in difficulty to choose the leader.
According to sources, the party has appointed cabinet minister Nirmala Sitaraman and senior leader Tomar as observers for Himachal Pradesh to hold meetings with winning MLAs to get their opinion.