In a surprising move, BJP chief has announced Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73, as the party's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh state assembly elections.
Shah said in a rally in Rajgarh in Solan district that the two-time former CM Dhumal would lead the party's campaign.
Dhumal was picked instead of Union Minister JP Nadda, who had hoped to become the CM candidate.
All about BJP's CM candidate in Himachal Pradesh
It's Dhumal vs Virbhadra Singh in Himachal Pradesh
Earlier in the day, Dhumal had hinted he would be picked as the party favorite for CM.
Speaking confidently, Shah said Dhumal would be elected CM after December 18, the day votes would be counted.
Dhumal will now directly fight Congress CM Virbhadra Singh in the elections which will take place on November 9.
PM Narendra Modi will also play a crucial campaigning role.
Why Dhumal was selected as CM candidate?
Interestingly, 73-year-old Dhumal was chosen, despite being just two years shy of BJP's disqualifying age for candidates (75 years).
His popularity and acceptability within the BJP cadre played a crucial role for his selection.
Surveys also indicated his favorability among Himachal's citizens.
A majority of state leaders had also expressed their backing for Dhumal at the BJP's state core committee meeting in Shimla yesterday.