Who will be Himachal CM? Political climate heats up as Dhumal supporters resort to sloganeering

The supporters of Dhumal, who lost from Sujanpur seat, shouted slogans in his support outside the venue of BJP Core Committee meeting in Shimla.

Who will be Himachal CM? Political climate heats up as Dhumal supporters resort to sloganeering
Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi/Shimla: The supporters of veteran BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal, who lost in the assembly elections, on Friday shouted slogans disrupting a crucial meeting of the newly-elected party MLAs to pick the next chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.

According to ANI, the supporters of Dhumal, who lost from Sujanpur seat, shouted slogans in his support outside the venue of BJP Core Committee meeting in Shimla.

Meanwhile, a group of BJP supporters also raised slogans in support of PM Narendra Modi, saying the "next Himachal Pradesh CM should be chosen from the elected MLAs and there should be no lobbying." 

BJP central observers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar were also present in the meeting which was called to pick the new chief minister of the hill state in view of BJP's landslide victory here.

The BJP, which returned to power in Himachal Pradesh with a thumping majority, is in a fix on the issue with several names doing the rounds for the top job.

Among the newly-elected MLAs, five-time lawmaker Jairam Thakur is being seen as a frontrunner.

Union Ministers Nirmala Sitaraman and Narendra Singh Tomar, who are BJP's central observers, are holding consultations with the newly elected party MLAs to elicit their views and arrive at consensus on the name of a new chief minister.

A senior BJP leader, on the condition of anonymity, had said that there is a strong view in the party to pick one of the elected MLAs to head the government in the hill state. 

The name of the new leader is likely to be announced today.

The shocking defeat of the party's chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, who has been the state's chief minister for two full terms, has triggered the race for the top post, bringing Union minister JP Nadda into the contention.

Nadda hails from the state and is a Rajya Sabha member.

Both Sitharaman and Tomar had met the party's state unit core committee, which includes Dhumal, state party chief Satpal Singh Satti, all the five MPs from the state and organisation secretary Pawan Rana.

The observers are also meeting the MLAs individually to elicit their views and the leader would be elected by consensus at a meeting of all elected lawmakers, party sources said.

The party won 44 seats in the 68-member assembly.

The clamour for making Dhumal the chief minister has also gained momentum and three BJP MLAs have reportedly offered to vacate their seats for him.

But several other leaders including the party veteran and Lok Sabha member from Kangra Shanta Kumar opposed the move and said the party has a clear majority and there are several leaders capable of leading the party and that electing a defeated leader would send wrong signals, sources said.