New Delhi: With some prominent personalities from the BJP losing the elections in Himachal Pradesh, the party has started looking at other options for the top post. The BJP’s CM nominee and two-time chief minister of the hill state Prem Kumar Dhumal has lost the elections from Sujanpur to his once protégé Rajendra Rana.
Dhumal shifted to this seat ahead of the elections in an apparent bid to impact other seats in Hamirpur district. Here are the leaders who could make it to the post of chief minister in Himachal Pradesh:
JP Nadda: The Union Health Minister is a Rajya Sabha MP from Himachal Pradesh, and could be the first choice for the CM’s job. Nadda, 57, has extensive knowledge of the hill state. He has been an MLA in 1993, 1998 and 2007, when he was made the forest, environment, and science and technology minister. He was associated with ABVP during his student days in Patna. His father was the Vice-Chancellor of Ranchi University in 1977. However, Nadda, a Brahmin, could find the odds against him because of his caste in a state where Thakurs rule the roost, thanks to their numerical strength of over 28%.
Anurag Thakur: The young leader is son of Dhumal and a Lok Sabha MP from Hamirpur constituency. At 43, he has been elected thrice from his home state. He was also elected as BCCI president last year. He was also party’s youth wing president when he was replaced by Poonam Mahajan in 2016.
Anil Sharma: The son of former Congress minister Sukh Ram could also be in the running for the CM’s post, having switched allegiance to the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls. Sharma was also a minister in the outgoing Virbhadra Singh government. However, the BJP may refrain from rewarding a turncoat.
Narendra Thakur: He had quit the BJP in 2003 and fought Assembly polls against Dumal in 2009. He also fought Lok Sabha polls from Hamirpur against Anurag Thakur. But he joined the BJP a few days before Assembly polls and has won from Hamirpur constituency.
Dhumal is not the only CM nominee to bite the dust.
Prem Kumar Dhumal, who changed his seat from Hamirpur to Sujanpur, appears to be on a sticky wicket. However, he is not the only CM candidate to have lost his seat. Former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit had lost from New Delhi in 2013. Kiran Bedi, BJP’s CM nominee for 2015 Delhi polls, met a similar fate. Arjun Munda who was considered BJP’s CM face from Jharkhand in 2014 lost from Kharasawan. In March 2017, Harish Rawat, who was Congress’s chief minister candidate in Uttarakhand, lost from both Khichha and Haridwar (rural). Laxmikant Parsekar, who was BJP’s CM nominee in Goa election, too, lost from Mandrem this year.