<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Putting months of speculation to rest, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday announced former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73, as the party’s CM candidate for the upcoming Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh. Speaking at a rally in Pachhad, party president Amit Shah announced that the BJP will be led by Dhumal in the upcoming polls.”At every rally, CM Virbhadra Singh questions us that under whose leadership was the BJP contesting the elections. Yet, he remains silent on the charges of corruption and on the justice that evades Gudiya (minor girl who was raped and murdered in Kotkhai). BJP is fighting the elections under the leadership of PM Modi. But, if you want to know who will lead the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, then let me make it clear to everyone, including CM Virbhadra, that we will contest the elections under the leadership of PK Dhumal,” Shah said in the rally held in Pachhad on Tuesday, adding, “I will also tell you that Dhumal ji has been a former CM, and after December 18, he will become the CM of Himachal Pradesh.”Soon afterwards, PM Modi tweeted: “Dhumal ji is among our senior-most leaders with rich administrative experience in Himachal. He will once again make a wonderful CM (sic).” Speculations were rife within and outside the party on whether two-time CM Dhumal or HealthMinister JP Nadda will lead the party. It is understood that PM Modi’s proximity to Dhumal was instrumental in giving him an edge over Nadda. At a press conference in Shimla on Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also hinted at an “experienced hand” to lead the party. It is learnt that the party leadership called Dhumal late on Monday night to inform him about the development.Speaking to DNA over the phone from Hamirpur, where he was campaigning, Dhumal said he respected the party decision. “I am grateful that the party has chosen me to lead the charge in the state. The Opposition has been questioning us over the matter for a long time, and it was making the party workers restless. I’m happy that all these speculations have now been laid to rest,” Dhumal said.The former CM, who is contesting the elections from Sujanpur, will be pitted against Congress leader Rajinder Singh Rana, who defeated several other candidates to win the party ticket.
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