By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 15 Jan: The election for the post of new BJP Chief for Uttarakhand is scheduled to be held tomorrow. To oversee the election, Union Minister Arjun Meghwal has already arrived in Doon, while former CM of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Chauhan is also scheduled to arrive this evening. Sources, however, have indicated that the likelihood of an election is very unlikely tomorrow as the central observers are here to ensure “election” of a consensus candidate. Sources further indicated that senior BJP leader and MLA from Kaladhungi (District Nainital), Bansidhar was likely to be the choice of the Centre for the post. It may be recalled that Bhagat is a six-time MLA and was a minister once in undivided Uttar Pradesh and twice in Uttarakhand. This time, even after getting elected as MLA once again from Kaladhungi, he failed to make it to Trivendra Singh Rawat’s Cabinet. Party insiders further claimed that, following the unexpected defeat of the party in Jharkhand and lukewarm performances in Haryana and Maharashtra, the central leadership of the party is in no mood to experiment with untried or new faces. Sources claimed that the CM was also not in favour of outgoing BJP State Chief Ajay Bhatt continuing, despite a very successful track-record. As a result, Bhatt developed cold feet and expressed his desire to withdraw his candidature. Others in the race are Kailash Chand Pant, MLA Naveen Dumka, Balraj Passi and Pushkar Singh Dhami. However, from a perspective of caste and regional balance, it was already being speculated that a Brahmin face from Kumaon region would replace Bhatt if the party was keen on a change of guard in the party. Sources also claimed that the party preferred a non-controversial and experienced leader as the new State BJP Chief and did not wish to create ego clashes between the new BJP state chief and the CM, as internal squabbles would hurt the party most in the 2022 state assembly elections. Neither is the party in the mood to let everything be decided by the CM, as it had done in Jharkhand and faced unexpected defeat. Bhagat is considered to be not aligned to any particular faction or group in the party and is an easily accessible person. He is on good terms with most of the party leaders, young or old. Party sources also indicated that in addition to 10 Lal Batti posts that were announced recently, some more are in the offing, besides filling up of the remaining 3 posts in the Council of Ministers in the Trivendra Singh Rawat Government.