Low-key leader to be Himachal CM

Hiamchal Pradesh CM-elect Jai Ram Thakur during a BJP MLAs meet in Shimla on Sunday

Hiamchal Pradesh CM-elect Jai Ram Thakur during a BJP MLAs meet in Shimla on Sunday

Legislator from Seraj constituency of Mandi district, Jai Ram Thakur, 52, has been picked as the next chief minister of Himachal Pradesh by the BJP.

The race for chief ministership opened up after the BJP swept the recently-concluded state election but suffered a shock loss in Prem Kumar Dhumal's defeat.

A decision on his name was taken unanimously at the Bharatiya Janata Party Legislative Party meeting here, where central observers - Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar - were present along with Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda and state party incharge Mangal Pandey.

He distributed fruits to the children and patients at Deen Dayal Upadhaya hospital, Shimla on occasion of birthday of former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Though Mr Nadda's name was also doing the rounds for the top post, the saffron cadre and senior state leaders were in favour of picking the new chief minister from among the newly-elected MLAs.

Jai Ram Thakur will be the 14th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh and is likely to be sworn-in on December 27 at a star-studded ceremony expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, among others. Today while addressing a press conference, Thakur thanked his party's leaders after accepting his new position.

A generational shift in party leadership has forced Dhumal to the margin. The BJP won nine of the 10 seats in Mandi this time.

He will be the first Chief Minister from Mandi, the second biggest district of Himachal after Kangra.

The Chief Minister-elect, known for his proximity to Nadda, did his graduation from a Mandi college and post-graduation from Panjab University in Chandigarh.

Thakur has previously served as the president of the BJP state unit and was also part of Dhumal's cabinet. The results for Himachal elections were declared on 18 December 2017 and BJP won the polls with a comfortable majority. He was also the state unit president between 2006 and 2009.

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