Five-time legislator Jairam Thakur, who rose through the ranks and is known for his humble, clean and low-profile nature, will be the 14th Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, the BJP announced on Sunday.
In his first remarks after he was elected the BJP Legislature Party leader, Thakur thanked all party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah, Nadda, Dhumal and Shanta Kumar.
"Thakur was elected BJP Legislature Party leader in the (Himachal Pradesh) Assembly", Tomar told reporters, adding that "no proposal was made for any other candidate".
Dhumal, who was expected to take over as chief minister, was in the reckoning till Saturday night, when he opted out.
Thakur's name was finalised by the core committee of the party in the presence of observers from Delhi after much deliberations amid name of Union Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda also making rounds for the coveted post.
Earlier Chief Ministers of Himachal hailed from Shimla, Kangra and Sirmaur districts.
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The other main contender for the post of CM was Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, but there was no consensus on his name.
A generational shift in party leadership has forced Dhumal to the margin.
BJP had won a record nine of the 10 seats in Mandi district in the just-concluded Assembly elections. He holds an MA 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.
At 28 years of age, he contested the 1993 Assembly polls from Seraj on a BJP ticket and lost.
Thakur, who had headed the state unit of the party between 2006 and 2009, a period during which there was strong infighting in the BJP, would once again have to contend with more than a few sullen faces within. After 1998, he managed to bulldoze his Opposition in 2003, 2007 as well as 2012 - clearly indicating that Thakur enjoys a solid popularity with the people. Apparently, Shah had also promised during an election meeting that Thakur would be given an important role in state politics once the BJP would come to power.