Rajeev Bindal set to be Himachal BJP chief

Shimla, Jan 16 (PTI) The BJP national leadership has decided to appoint Assembly Speaker Rajeev Bindal as the president of the state party unit, said Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur here on Thursday.

In an informal chat with the media after a farewell function for Bindal at the assembly library here, Thakur said the national leadership cleared Bindal's name as they though that he would strengthen the party in the state.

Bindal had resigned as the state assembly speaker on Thursday afternoon, a day ahead of the filing of nominations for the formal election to the Himachal BJP president's post.

Bindal put in his papers at 3.10 pm to Deputy Speaker Hans Raj, who immediately accepted his resignation.

He will file his papers for the election to the post of the state BJP chief at 2 pm on Friday.

Hans Raj said the new speaker would be elected on the first day of the next assembly session.  The chief minister, however, said it would be discussed and decided later whether a special session would be called to elect the new speaker.

Bindal's appointment will be formally announced on Saturday.

Bindal is considered close to BJP's working president Jagat Prakash Nadda.  When asked how will he maintain a balance in all BJP factions as he is considered close to Nadda, Bindal said he would reply to this question after his formal appointment as the state BJP chief on January 18.

Meanwhile, BJP state vice-president Ram Swaroop Sharma said the process of filing nominations for the president's post would start on January 17 and papers could be filed within a 24-hour period.

Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and BJP's national secretary Sunil Deodhar will come to the state as observers for the election, he added.  Addressing the farewell function at the assembly library, the CM hoped that Bindal would discharge his new responsibility in such a way that the BJP would again come to power in the state in 2022.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj and Deputy Speaker Hans Raj also recalled Bindal's work during his two-year tenure as the assembly speaker.  The five-time MLA, Bindal was elected as the Himacl speaker on January 10, 2018. PTI DJI RDK RDK