Veteran leader PK Dhumal is BJP's CM pick for Himachal Pradesh

Congress leader Anand Sharma at a press conference in Shimla Monday

Shah said, "Dhumal is a former chief minister and at present the Leader of the Opposition, but after December 18 (the result date) he will be the state's next chief minister".

Prem Kumar Dhumal became active in state politics in 1993, following the unexpected death of Jagdev Chand.

The BJP president has been addressing a series of election rallies across the state.

"The party president has chose to postpone his Bihar visit because of his preoccupation with the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat", a senior BJP leader told The Telegraph.

Recent surveys conducted by party also indicated Dhumal would be the best choice as the chief minister.

Sources disclosed that one of the major reasons why the BJP was postponing naming its chief ministerial candidate was the fact that its state unit is infested with factionalism.

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Himachal Pradesh's 68 Assembly seats go to polls on November 9. Dhumal, who is just two years short of the party's unofficial age bar, was announced by Mr Shah at an election rally in the state where the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government is facing massive anti-incumbency sentiment. Union Ministers Kalraj Mishra and Najma Heptullah had to quit the Union Cabinet after they turned 75.

Dhumal, 73, a two-time Chief Minister was keen on fighting the polls after being declared the CM face but the party has not warmed up to the idea earlier.

Dhumal also has a strong following in the districts of Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Hamirpur, Una, Chamba, Solan and Bilaspur.

Attacking the Congress rule, Shah said Himachal Pradesh has become a land of mafias and criminals.

For the last three years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been working for public welfare and our opponents have not been able to charge corruption charge against us.

But in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won all the state's four seats with a vote percentage of 53.85 per cent, while the Congress got 41.07 per cent votes.

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