The apex BJP parliamentary board on Thursday night took an in principle decision to replace Uttarakhand chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal with forward looking Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri as the state goes to polls later this year.
The move to replace Pokhriyal with Khanduri, who is seen to be development oriented with a clean image, was piloted by party president Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitely, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, and Rajnath Singh, MP and former party president.
Party sources said that Nagpur backed the decision albeit leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had some initial reservations on issue but later went on with the tide. The change should take place in the coming week with a party observer perhaps being sent to Dehradun as a ritual.
It is understood that Gadkari and Jaitely wanted to project Khanduri as chief ministerial candidate for the forthcoming polls as early as last April but at that time Nagpur was not so convinced. Khanduri, Road and transport minister under NDA government, is the force behind the Golden Quadrilateral Highway Project and has the capacity to give good governance to the state.
This move accompanied with change of candidates for the forthcomig polls may give BJP a fighting chance as Congress has emerged as a principal contender for the future.