Thursday, October 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rajnath invited to form govt

LUCKNOW, Oct 25 (UNI) — The curtains finally came down on the 350-day-old Ram Prakash Gupta government with Union Surface Transport Minister Rajnath Singh all set to be installed as the 29th Chief Minister of the state on Saturday.

Governor Suraj Bhan invited Mr Rajnath Singh to head the coalition government immediately after he was handed over a letter stating that Mr Rajnath Singh was elected leader of the Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislature group.

Mr Rajnath Singh later told newspersons he would take the oath of office in the afternoon on October 28.

Mr Gupta’s one-year-old tenure was full of speculation over how long he would be able to continue in office. It finally ended yesterday following the elevation of Mr Rajnath Singh, who had been in the run for the coveted post since long.

The central leadership’s nod came soon after the Prime Minister reached the Capital after his knee surgery in Mumbai.

A resolute looking Rajnath Singh sounded confident about the prospects of his government. Addressing mediapersons, he said the leadership change or the fact that his government would be left with a reduced majority after the creation of Uttaranchal would have no adverse effect on the government. “Even if we have the required majority by only one member in the House, there is no cause for worry’’, he asserted.

He also issued a veiled threat to his adversaries in other parties. “If anybody tries to reduce our majority, his party would lose the majority’’, he added.

Proposing to address the problems of teachers, government employees and traders on one-to-one dialogue basis, the Chief Minister-designate said maintenance of law and order and the welfare of farmers would be priority areas for him.

Asked if the party would now present an upper caste agenda since the Chief Minister and the state party chief came from the upper castes, he said “The BJP is a party of insaan and insaaniyat (humanity)’’.

Asked on the proposed size of his Council of Ministers, he said he would first like to consult the outgoing Chief Minister, state BJP president and the alliance partners on the same.

When asked whether he would go to Ayodhya for Ram Lalla’s darshan like his predecessor, he said, “Let me take oath first”.

Earlier, he reached the state capital and drove straight to the Chief Minister’s residence to attend meeting of the BJP legislature group.

His name was proposed by Chief Minister Ram Prakash Gupta and seconded by state party chief Kalraj Misra and seven other ministers.


Rajnath Singh’s resignation accepted
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Oct 25 — President K.R. Narayanan today accepted the resignation of Union Surface Transport Minister Rajnath Singh who would take over as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on October 28.

Mr Rajnath Singh, who was elected today the leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Lucknow, would take oath on Saturday, along with his council of ministers. The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had forwarded his resignation to the President.

Mr Rajnath Singh, who is taking over from Mr Ram Prakash Gupta, has a difficult task ahead of him and has been promised support from the party high command.

Mr Rajnath Singh, who as the BJP state unit President, had challenged the former UP Chief Minister, Mr Kalyan Singh’s, style of politics, was initially hesitant to go to Lucknow but was convinced by Mr Vajpayee and the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, to take up the challenge.

The political fortunes of the BJP in UP are at the lowest ebb at the moment and Mr Rajnath Singh, who was very keen to take over the reins of the state last year, was denied the opportunity as the present President of the BJP state unit, Mr Kalraj Mishra and the Urban Development Minister, Mr Lalji Tandon, had opposed his candidature then.

While Mr Rajnath Singh is expected to retain the team of ministers of his immediate predecessor, sources said that he was seriously contemplating to have Mr Ram Kumar Verma as his Deputy Chief Minister. Back

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