From student leader to Himachal CM: Jai Ram Thakur summits hill state

Jai Ram Thakur

A day after being named as the new chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, the CM deignate Jai Ram Thakur on Monday got into action mode making visits to the Raj Bhawan and to hospitals and reviewing arrangements for the swearing in ceremony on Wednesday.

The BJP's chief ministerial candidate, Prem Kumar Dhumal, released a signed statement saying that he was not in the race for the chief minister's post, after sensing that the central leadership was miffed at lobbying for the post despite his losing the Assembly election from the Sujanpur constituency.

Dhumal, who was expected to take over as chief minister, was in the reckoning till Saturday night, when he opted out. The central observer of Bharatiya Janata Party, Narendra Singh Tomar announced Thakur's name after a meeting of BJP MLAs. A section of BJP legislators had backed the former chief minister.

Thakur was then elected chief of the BJP legislature party, after his name had been proposed by senior MLAs.

Sources disclosed that though Mr Thakur's name was announced at the legislature party meeting in the afternoon in Shimla, he had earlier received a call from the party top brass in the morning about his name being finalised.

BJP had won a record nine of the 10 seats in Mandi district in the just-concluded Assembly elections.

Had Union health minister JP Nadda been party's choice, there was a possibility of Dhumal's MP son Anurag Thakur being inducted in the Narendra Modi cabinet at the Centre, it is learnt. He holds an MA from Panjab University in Chandigarh. In 1998, he was given a ticket again and won decisively and went on to repeat the feat four more times on the trot from the same constituency. He also held the post of Himachal Pradesh BJP president between 2007 and 2009.

The two observers had taken feedback from members of the Himachal BJP's core committee, MPs and some MLAs.

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