SHIMLA: Former Himachal Pradesh minister and Assembly Speaker Rajeev Bindal was on Saturday formally declared as the state BJP chief.
The announcement was made by national BJP secretary Sunil V Deodhar at a function here attended by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' and Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur also joined the function a few minutes after Bindal's declaration as state president.
The duo arrived late as their helicopter took time to reach here due to fog in Delhi.
Outgoing state BJP president Satpal Singh Satti, state cabinet ministers and party MLAs were also present.
Bindal replaced Satti who was the state BJP chief for nine years. On Friday, a single nomination for the post was filed by Bindal. He resigned as state Assembly Speaker on Thursday after the central BJP leadership decided to nominate him to the new post.
Bindal is considered close to BJP national working president Jagat Prakash Nadda, who hails from the state's Bilaspur district.
Addressing the gathering, Bindal expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah and Nadda for showing faith in him to take up the post of state party chief.
Bindal urged party workers in the state to reach Delhi in large numbers on January 20 as Nadda will file his nomination at 10 am and will be declared as party president at 1 pm on the day.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said, "As per his nature, Bindal raised slogans (in support of senior leaders) in the beginning and end of his address after becoming state party president." Intervening, Bindal said, in jest, "You had made me (as speaker) to keep mum."
All senior leaders, in unison, said the BJP would break the tradition in Himachal Pradesh of not repeating consecutive terms of the government.
The BJP will come to power again in 2022, when elections are due in the state, by getting at least 50 out of the total 68 seats, instead of 44 secured in 2017, they added.