BJP legislature party meeting to choose new Uttarakhand CM likely on Monday

The BJP legislature party meeting to decide the new chief minister of Uttarakhand is likely to be held here on Monday.
BJP Flags (Photo | PTI)
BJP Flags (Photo | PTI)

DEHRADUN: The BJP legislature party meeting to decide the new chief minister of Uttarakhand is likely to be held here on Monday.

The party's central observers for Uttarakhand Rajnath Singh and Meenakshi Lekhi may arrive a day earlier on Sunday or on the same day to attend the meeting, state BJP spokesman Shadab Shams told PTI.

The swearing-in ceremony may take place on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president J P Nadda and chief ministers of several BJP-ruled states likely to attend the event, he said.

With Kumaon celebrating Holi on Saturday many MLAs who represent constituencies in that region are still there.

They have been informed about the likely formation of government in two to three days and will arrive in Dehradun by Sunday, Uttarakhand BJP president Madan Kaushik said.

While Pushkar Singh Dhami continues to be the frontrunner for the post of chief minister despite his defeat from Khatima, other probable names for the top job doing the rounds include those of Chaubattakhal MLA Satpal Maharaj, Shrinagar MLA Dhan Singh Rawat and Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni.

Dhami is likely to be repeated as chief minister as he is young and energetic and also because the BJP had contested the polls in his name and recorded a big win, sources in the BJP's state unit said.

Another reason why the party may decide to continue with Dhami is that it has already drawn much flak for changing two chief ministers in quick succession during its last tenure, the sources said.

"If Keshav Prasad Maurya who lost his seat in Uttar Pradesh can be made deputy CM again why can't Dhami be made chief minister?" a BJP leader, requesting anonymity, said.

However, if the party goes for a new face, the necessity of striking a caste and regional balance will be a deciding factor in the choice of the next chief minister, the sources said.

As Ajay Bhatt, a Brahmin from Kumaon, has already been made a Union minister of state, a Thakur or a Rajput from Garhwal may be chosen for the chief minister's post to strike the much needed caste and regional balance.

If that is the case then Satpal Maharaj or Dhan Singh Rawat who are prominent Thakur leaders from Garhwal may emerge as favourites.

There is also talk about the new cabinet likely to consist of more young faces and more women.

The new names doing the rounds as probables for ministerial positions are those of Saurabh Bahuguna and Ritu Khanduri Bhushan.

Saurabh Bahuguna who won from Sitarganj is former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna's son and Ritu Khanduri Bhushan who won from Kotdwar is the daughter of BJP veteran and former chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri.

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