New Delhi, Dec 24: A day before meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs, Prem Kumar Dhumal on Saturday night ruled himself out of the race for the post of Himachal Pradesh chief minister.  Five-term MLA Jairam Thakur and Union minister J P Nadda are now seen as the frontrunners for the chief minister’s post.

Former Himachal chief minister Dhumal issued a statement last night and clearly mentioned that he was never in the CM race after his defeat from Sujanpur constituency in the Assembly elections 2017.

“I had made it amply clear on the day of results that I was not in the CM race. To elect any person as CM is entirely the prerogative of the party’s central leadership,” Dhumal said in the statement.

Meanwhile, a meeting of BJP MLAs has been convened today and they would be addressed by the two central BJP observers, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar, who were in Shimla for the last two days. Dr Rajeev Bindal, BJP’s chief spokesman in the state said that besides the two central leaders,  party’s Himachal Pradesh in-charge Mangal Pandey will also reach Shimla on Sunday.

“A meeting of the newly elected MLAs will be held at 12.30 pm at Hotel Peterhoff. Members of the core group and MPs from Himachal Pradesh will also be present,” Indian Express quoted Bindal as saying.

On December 18, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wrested power from the Congress in Himachal Pradesh winning close to two-thirds majority with 44 seats in its kitty in the 68-member Assembly.