Shimla, Dec 22: After the two-time chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal lost to Congress’ Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur Vidhan Sabha seat in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has zeroed in on five-time MLA Jairam Thakur as its chief ministerial candidate in the state.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017: BJP Chief Ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal defeated, List of candidates in the fray

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017: BJP Chief Ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal defeated, List of candidates in the fray

The saffron party is expected to make a formal announcement on Friday, December 22. Along with Jairam Thakur, the name of Union Health Minister JP Nadda was also being considered for the top post in Himachal Pradesh, a report by Indian Express said. The veteran leader Thakur has won the Seraj assembly constituency in the recently conducted Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017.

The name of Jairam Thakur came after the veteran leaders of the party held consultations with BJP central leadership. Even though Thakur has emerged as one of the frontrunners for the CM post, the name of Dhumal is still the top pick for most of the party men. Some of the MLAs believe that even though Dhumal lost the elections, he played a major role in throwing the Congress party out of Himachal Pradesh.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Urban Development Minister Narinder Singh Tomar are expected to reach Shimla today to hold a formal discussion with the senior leaders of the BJP. A formal meeting will also be held to formally announce the name of Jairam Thakur as the party’s chief ministerial pick.

The other leaders who are expected to attend the meeting include JP Nadda, Prem Kumar Dhumal, senior leader Shanta Kumar, party in-charge Mangal Pandey and state President Satpal Satti, a report said. “A decision on new CM will be taken very soon after consultations with the MLAs,” he said.

Thakur was the rural development and Panchayati Raj minister in Himachal Pradesh. He won his first election in 1998 defeating Congress candidate Chet Ram from Seraj by over 10,000 votes.

Some other chief ministerial candidates in the list include Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur, Anil Sharma, son of former Congress leader and union minister Sukh Ram.