Maj Gen (retd) BC Khanduri will return as Uttarakhand chief minister, replacing Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, to lead the BJP in assembly polls next year.
Alarmed by the state government’s sagging image due to several allegations of corruption and the impact of the Anna Hazare campaign, the BJP leadership told Nishank he had to go. “Keeping in view the forthcoming elections, the BJP has decided for a change of leadership.
Khanduri will be the new chief minister. The decision will be endorsed by party MLAs at a meeting in Dehradun tomorrow,” BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said on Saturday.
However, Gadkari, with Nishank beside him, added, “There have been allegations in the media that there are corruption cases against him (Nishank). The party wants to make it clear there are no charges against him.”
Khanduri returns as CM two years after he stepped down following the 2009 general elections, when the BJP lost all five Lok Sabha seats in the state. After his supporters refused to back rival Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Nishank was made a “consensus” CM. This time, Khanduri and Koshiyari virtually joined hands to get Nishank out.
The final decision was taken by the BJP parliamentary board on Thursday and backed by Gadkari, LK Advani, Arun Jaitley, MM Joshi and Rajnath Singh.
State BJP chief Bishen Chauphal said it would be a smooth transition while party spokesperson Deepti Rawat said surveys showed 40% favoured Khanduri as the next CM.