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BJP sends Arun Jaitley to Gujarat, Nirmala Sitharaman to Himachal Pradesh to decide on next chief ministers

Hours after sealing victories in Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) top decision-making body on Monday got down to the task of choosing the next chief ministers in the two states, according to media reports.

The BJP has dispatched two teams for the purpose, one led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and party general secretary Saroj Pandey to Gandhinagar, and another led by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Tomar to Shimla, Union health minister JP Nadda said.

 BJP sends Arun Jaitley to Gujarat, Nirmala Sitharaman to Himachal Pradesh to decide on next chief ministers

Representational image. PTI

"They will speak to the MLAs to elect new leaders of the party," NDTV quoted Nadda as saying. BJP's central parliamentary board met in New Delhi after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's victory speech where he called the support for the party an indication that the country was ready for "reform agenda as every citizen wants India transformed", the report added.

According to India Today, Textiles and I&B minister Smriti Irani is the probable front-runner in the race to the chief minister's seat in Gujarat. However, she has denied the speculations saying, "I am definitely not a contender."

The report added that Union minister of state for road transport Mansukh L Mandaviya is the second favourite candidate to replace Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar.

Meanwhile, many top leaders in Himachal Pradesh lost their seats by narrow margins in the results that were announced on Monday.

BJP's chief ministerial face for the Himachal Pradesh polls, Prem Kumar Dhumal, was defeated from the Sujanpur Assembly seat. The former chief minister lost to his Congress rival Rajinder Singh Rana by 1,919 votes, according to the Election Commission. Dhumal got 23,369 votes against 25,288 votes polled by Rana.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 19, 2017 08:27:44 IST