New Delhi: Suspense continues over who will be the chief minister of BJP in Himachal Pradesh where the party won the Assembly elections but its chief ministerial candidate, P.K. Dhumal, lost to the Congress candidate. Names of senior leader and five-term MLA Jairam Thakur and Union health minister J.P. Nadda are doing the rounds for the top post.
In Gujarat, where party president Amit Shah had declared before the election that incumbent chief minister Vijay Rupani would continue, swearing in could take place on December 25, which is party patriarch and former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s birthday.
Though Mr Rupani is the favourite, speculation continues over his fate after the BJP’s subdued performance.
When asked who will be Gujarat’s next chief minister, Mr Rupani, in Ahmedabad, said “The BJP fought this election in Gujarat with my face. But the final decision will be taken by the party’s parliamentary board.” Sources disclosed the BJP’s parliamentary board could take a final call on the issue by the end of this week.
The BJP won Assembly elections in both the states whose results were declared on Monday. BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, securing seven seats more than the 92 needed for a simple majority, while the Congress and its allies won 80. The BJP won 44 seats in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly.
Sources disclosed that Mr Shah held a meeting with some party leaders from Himachal Pradesh, including Mr Thakur, at his residence earlier on Tuesday. The party has appointed central observers for both the states to oversee the legislature party meeting to select its leader.
After the 2012 Gujarat elections, Narendra Modi had taken oath of office for the fourth time on December 25. Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad could be the likely venue of the swearing-in ceremony. Sources disclosed that Mr Modi, Mr Shah, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states among other senior party leaders are likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony.