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Whiff of leadership change in Gujarat, Jairam Thakur leads race in Himachal

Gujarat could well have a new chief minister while Jairam Thakur has emerged as a top contender for Himachal Pradesh’s hot seat. With the narrow victory in Gujarat reportedly worrying BJP leaders, the

Published: 21st December 2017 09:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st December 2017 09:27 AM   |  A+A-

The BJP is likely to decide the leadership in both states in a few days. (File | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Gujarat could well have a new chief minister while Jairam Thakur has emerged as a top contender for Himachal Pradesh’s hot seat. With the narrow victory in Gujarat reportedly worrying BJP leaders, the party top brass is looking at the possibility of replacing incumbent Chief Minister Vijay Rupani with someone who could possibly lift the morale of the workers.

Central observers Arun Jaitely and Saroj Pandey are likely to go to Ahmedabad on Friday to hold consultations with the newly-elected legislators. “There is indeed a proposal for leadership change. The mandate suggests that the state leadership was somehow found wanting to communicate with the people on key issues.

The Central observers will hold consultations with the newly-elected legislators and seek their views on the possible choices for the legislative party leader in the state. And the BJP Parliamentary Board will vet the Central observers’ report,” said a senior BJP functionary. Jaitely was also the election in charge for Gujarat. Pandey is the BJP national general secretary.

In Himachal Pradesh, party veteran Jairam Thakur appears to have emerged the top contender for the chief minister’s post. Sources said the BJP is not keen on thrusting a Central leader on the state at a time when the party is gearing up to face the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda, who is the secretary of the BJP’s Parliamentary Board, is trying sell himself as a candidate for the CM’s post. However, sources said the party is not keen to relieve any Union minister for Himachal Pradesh, which will also necessitate vacating a seat to ensure his election in the state Assembly.

The caste arithmetic too is not in Nadda’s favour. Since he is a Brahmin, his elevation could result in faction fighting within the state unit, which is dominated by Thakurs, sources said. The BJP is likely to decide the leadership in both states in a few days.



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