Five-time MLA Jairam Thakur and Union minister JP Nadda's names are doing the rounds for Himachal Pradesh's chief ministerial post after shocking defeat of BJP's CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal in the hill state.
Though as per BJP sources, defeated chief ministerial face Dhumal is also not being completely ruled out for the top post. Although, earlier, Nadda's name was doing the rounds, Dhumal's name was announced as the party's chief ministerial candidate midway through the election campaign in the state.
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Dhumal, who had won the last election from Hamirpur constituency, had reservations over contesting from Sujanpur. But, the central leadership asked him to contest from there, and he faced defeat.
He faced defeat against close rival Rajinder Rana of the Congress from Sujanpur. Rana was once the "election manager" of Dhumal and knows his family well. Rana defeated the two-time chief minister by a slender margin of 1,919 votes.
The name of another senior leader, Rajeev Bindal, MLA from Nahan, is also in the reckoning for the chief ministerial post, as he apparently has the backing of a section in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
"So far, the party has not decided who will be chief minister in the state. Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar will visit Himachal Pradesh to talk to party leaders in the state before deciding on the name," said a BJP source.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA Virender Kanwar, who won from Kutlehar seat, has offered to resign from his seat for Dhumal.