The name of the next Chief Minister of Gujarat to succeed Anandiben Patel would be announced on Friday even as Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah held intensive deliberations with party leaders to finalise the candidate.
BJP's parliamentary board accepted Anandiben Patel's offer to resign on Wednesday at its meeting in Delhi, paving the way for appointment of a new chief minister to lead the party in 2017 assembly polls.
A meeting of party MLAs and office-bearers will be held on Friday evening at the BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar where the next CM would be announced, said state BJP president Vijay Rupani, who is also the state transport minister.
"Apart from Amit Shah, all the party MLAs, office bearers and our observers Nitin Gadkari and Saroj Pandey will remain present at the meeting," said Rupani, after holding a long discussion with Shah at latter's residence.
Shah, who arrived in the morning, has been busy holding meetings with state BJP leaders and ministers at his house.
Among others, he met state BJP in-charge Dinesh Sharma, national joint general secretary (organisation) V Satish, party treasurer Surendra Patel, education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and former state BJP chief R C Faldu.
Health Minister Nitin Patel, considered to be the front-runner for the job, was also present during Shah's meeting with Rupani.
When asked by reporters whether he would accept the post of CM, Patel evaded a direct answer but said, "Whoever is chosen by the party, we all will work together."
Dinesh Sharma, who arrived on Wednesday, engaged in hectic parleys with BJP leaders and ministers on Thursday. It is believed that he apprised Shah of his observations.
The names that are doing the rounds for the post are 'number two' in the cabinet Nitin Patel, Union Minister Purshottam Rupala and Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava, a tribal leader.
Rupani's name also came up early on, but he indicated on Wednesday that he was not in the race as he was happy with his current job. After this, Nitin Patel has emerged as a strong contender.