Pushkar Singh Dhami takes oath as Uttarakhand CM; PM Modi sends his 'best wishes'
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday took oath as the eleventh chief minister of Uttarakhand, a day after he was elected as the leader of the BJP's legislature party in the hill state, thus paving the way for his elevation to the state's top post. Dhami was administered oath of office by governor Baby Rani Maurya at the Raj Bhavan in Dehradun.
BJP MLAs Satpal Maharaj, Harak Singh Rawat, Bansidhar Bhagat, Yashpal Arya, Bishan Singh Chuphal, Subodh Uniyal, Arvind Pandey and Ganesh Joshi were also sworn in as ministers in the new state cabinet.
Soon after the ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the new chief minister and his cabinet of ministers. "Best wishes to this team as they work towards the progress and prosperity of Uttarakhand," PM Modi tweeted.
At 45, Dhami, the lawmaker from the Khatima assembly constituency, is the youngest chief minister of Uttarakhand, which came into existence in November 2000 after being carved out of Uttar Pradesh. Dhami, who had never held any ministerial position before being elevated as the chief minister, succeeds Garhwal MP Tirath Singh Rawat, who resigned on Friday. Rawat himself succeeded Trivendra Singh Rawat, and was in office for only around four months.
Dhami was a "unanimous" choice of all 56 members of the BJP's legislature party, according to former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat. "We're sure that Uttarakhand will attain new heights of development in the coming period under his leadership," Rawat said.
Earlier, Tirath Singh Rawat's resignation came amid uncertainty over the bypolls he was required to win to continue as the chief minister. According to rules, he had six months from his swearing in, which took place on March 10, to be elected as a member of the legislative assembly to continue in the post. However, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has the option to not conduct bypolls if the term of the assembly is expiring in less than a year. Under this scenario, Rawat would have become ineligible to stay in office.
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Assembly elections in Uttarakhand are likely to take place in early 2022. In the previous elections, in 2017, the BJP won 56 of the state's 70 assembly constituencies. BJP leader Trivendra Singh Rawat was then sworn in as the chief minister.