The BJP is still working on selecting the final names to be made chief ministers in the three states where the party won the recent assembly elections, sources said. The party will appoint observers for the three states tomorrow to finally choose the names, they said.
More than a handful names are said to be in the list of probables for the chief minister posts in the three states – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP fought the elections without naming any chief ministerial candidate.
The observers are likely to oversee meetings of the newly elected MLAs in the three states, where they will pick their leaders. Many within the BJP see the massive mandate it has got in the three states as a strong statement of wider popular support for its policies and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan remains a strong contender in Madhya Pradesh, following the party’s win with a two-thirds majority. Union ministers Prahlad Patel, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Narendra Singh Tomar are also being seen as among the probables.
In Chhattisgarh, former chief minister Raman Singh, state BJP president Arun Kumar Sao, leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik and former IAS officer OP Chaudhary are seen by political analysts as among the contenders. Except for Mr Singh, all the three leaders come from the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
The BJP leadership has, however, often surprised observers with its chief ministerial picks in the past.
In Rajasthan, former chief minister Vasundhara Raje is seen as one of the contenders for the top post. Some 25 BJP MLA met her on Monday in what was seen as a show of support and strength. Though the MLAs termed it a courtesy meeting, they said they will support Ms Raje if the party leadership chooses her for the top post. Ms Raje along with her son Dushyant Singh met BJP chief JP Nadda in Delhi this evening.