New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) The BJP appears to have decided to contest the upcoming assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh without declaring a chief ministerial face.
After toying with the idea of projecting Union Minister J.P. Nadda as a possible Chief Minister face, the party has reportedly decided to fight the November 9 elections and make the choice later depending on the results.
A thumping victory could pitchfork Nadda to the front, while a win close to the victory margin could favour the old warhorse Prem Kumar Dhumal, according to BJP sources.
Dhumal, 73, a two-time Chief Minister was keen on fighting the polls after being declared the CM face but the party has not warmed up to the idea. He has been now named candidate from Sujanpur constituency after being shifted from his traditional Hamirpur seat.
He is believed to have told the leadership that fighting the elections without declaring the choice of Chief Minister could cost the party dearly and give an edge to rival veteran and Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
“Whoever you want to declare as your CM, you declare. Be it Nadda or me. Going into elections without a face may cost the party dearly,” a source, who did not want to be named, quoted Dhumal as telling the party General Secretary (Organisation) Ram Lal.
Dhumal held separate meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Ram Lal.
Dhumal’s meeting with Modi took place on last Saturday after the BJP’s Central Election Committee deliberated on the names of candidates for the elections.
The party CEC meeting was attended by Modi and Shah. Party veterans Shanta Kumar and Dhumal also attended the meeting along with Himachal BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti and state in-charge Mangal Pandey.
The sources said the leadership was in favour of the party contesting the elections without declaring a chief ministerial candidate. They want to shift Nadda to the state after the polls if the BJP registers a resounding victory.
Dhumal, who was in Delhi for three days till Monday for the deliberations with the party leadership, returned to Hamirpur and held a roadshow in Sujanpur on Tuesday.
The Congress has named Virbhadra Singh, 83, as its chief ministerial candidate.
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