"After more than four hours of deliberations, BJP national president Nitin Gadkari late last (Monday) night finally cleared the name of Khimi Ram to be formally elected as the state president," the BJP leader said.
Khimi Ram, a second-time legislator from Banjar in Kullu district, was unanimously elected as president in July last year after then president Jairam Thakur was inducted into the state Cabinet.
Party insiders said Gadkari had to step in after top state party leaders, including Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and former Union minister Shanta Kumar, failed to arrive at a consensus on the name of the party president.
The election to choose the president slated for January 30 was called off two days before the poll due to lack of consensus.
Sitting Cabinet minister JP Nadda, a close confidant of Gadkari, was considered the hot contender for the post. He was supported by the Shanta camp.
A senior party official said Gadkari is keen to induct Nadda, state's forest minister, in his national team.
"Now an open rift between the Dhumal and Shanta camps would surface after the clearance of the name of Khimi Ram," a senior state minister said.
BJP's spokesman Ashok Kapatia said that the election to choose a new BJP president for three years would now be held on February 3.
Former chief minister of Uttarakhand Bhagat Singh Koshiari would be the party's central observer for the election, he said.
Shimla: Incumbent president of Himachal Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Khimi Ram, will continue in his post. His name was cleared by BJP national president Nitin Gadkari on Monday, a senior party leader said here Tuesday.
First Published: Tuesday, February 02, 2010, 11:22