Jairam Thakur is the new Himachal Pradesh chief minister


The decision to finalise Jai Ram Thakur as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh came from the top, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah giving the go-ahead after approval by the RSS.

After his stint in the RSS, Thakur contested for the first time on a BJP ticket in the 1993 Assembly polls but lost. This was a clear sign that BJP was not keen on sending its central leaders or ministers to the states as CM.

While during their earlier visit to choose the next CM, BJP observers had witnessed slogan-shouting by the supporters of Dhumal and Thakur, Sunday's election was a smooth affair.

As for Nadda, while he remained a popular choice, what went against him was the party's overall stand that it would not send Union ministers to head the state governments.

Born on January 6, 1965, to a poor family in Tandi village of Mandi's Thunag area, Thakur was fourth among five siblings and his father Jhethu Ram worked as a mason. Several names were doing the rounds for the past few days, including those of Nadda, MLA Suresh Bharadwaj, Dhumal and Thakur.

The meeting of the BJP Legislature Party was attended by the central observers appointed by the party to oversee the CM selection, Nirmala Sitharaman and Narinder Singh Tomar.

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Mr Thakur comes from the Mandi region, which till today has never had any saffron party chief minister in the state.

The BJP wrested power in Himachal from the Congress, winning close to a two thirds majority with 44 seats in the 68-member Assembly.

The BJP high command chose to finalise Thakur's name due to his closeness to the RSS, seniority, and a clean and non-controversial image. He also held the post of Himachal Pradesh BJP president between 2007 and 2009. He holds an MA from Panjab University in Chandigarh.

Sources disclosed that though Mr Thakur's name was announced at the legislature party meeting in the afternoon in Shimla, he had received a call from the party top brass in the morning about his name being finalised.

52-year-old Thakur is a veteran politician who served as Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister in Dhumal's government from 2008 to 2012.