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Pokhriyal to be new Uttarakhand CM
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 24
Journalist-turned-politician Ramesh Pokhriyal will be the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, replacing BC Khanduri who resigned yesterday.

However, the election of Pokhriyal as leader of the BJP Legislature Party in the state here this afternoon was not a smooth affair. It apparently left dissident leader and former Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari sulking but Khanduri was visibly pleased, as he appeared to have had his say in the selection of his successor.

According to BJP sources, all the 35 BJP legislators and one associated member of the party met party’s central observers M Venkaiah Naidu and Tanwar Chand Gehlot one by one and gave their views on the choice for the chief ministership. The whole exercise lasted nearly four hours.

Later, the observers completed the formality of electing Pokhriyal, Health Minister in the outgoing Khanduri Ministry, as the new leader at a joint meeting of the legislators. His name was proposed by Khanduri and seconded by Tourism Minister Prakash Pant, Agriculture Minister Trivendra Rawat and Chandan Ramdas. Venkaiah and a beaming Khanduri then escorted 51-year-old Pokhriyal for a brief interaction with the media.

“I thank party members and Khanduriji. As chief minister, my efforts will be to work to fulfill Khanduriji’s dream to make our state heaven on earth,” he told reporters amid a thunderous applause by his supporters, who were present in good strength at the media conference room.

The sources said the party leadership only considered two candidates for the chief ministership --- Pokhriyal and Pant. Koshiyari’s name was not even considered as any such move would have sent a wrong message that the leadership was out to reward dissidents, the sources added.

One MLA said Koshiyari was not even consulted, though he has a good equation with Pokhriyal. Koshiyari’s supporters claimed that he still enjoyed the support of a majority of the BJP MLAs in the assembly.

Khanduri is expected to submit his resignation to the Governor BL Joshi tomorrow after which Pokhriyal will be sworn in as the CM.

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