Pokhriyal is new Uttarakhand CM
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Pokhriyal is new Uttarakhand CM

Uttarakhand Health Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal will be the new Chief Minister of the state in place of BC Khanduri who resigned on Tuesday owing moral responsibility for the rout of BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

india Updated: Jun 25, 2009 01:15 IST
Vikas Pathak
Vikas Pathak
Hindustan Times

Uttarakhand Health and Family Welfare Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ (50) will be the next chief minister of the state. He will meet the Uttarakhand governor on Thursday to stake claim to form the government as B C Khanduri puts in his papers.

The BJP announced this here on Wednesday after senior leaders M. Venkaiah Naidu and Thawar Chand Gehlot met all party MLAs from Uttarakhand individually. Naidu said many MLAs wanted Khanduri to continue but the central leadership had made up its mind to accept his resignation.

Having faced flak for bouts of infighting within its ranks, the BJP tried to project the decision as a consensual one. Naidu said: “The Uttarakhand BJP Legislature Party has unanimously accepted Pokhriyal as the next leader. His name was proposed by Khanduri and seconded by Prakash Pant and Trivendra Singh Rawat.”

But many were left wondering why a consensus took four hours to evolve. Many are also seeing one-to-one meetings with MLAs as a method of enforcing discipline rather than assessing the candidates’ popularity.

With Pokhriyal, the party has replaced a Brahmin CM with another. This is being seen as an attempt to avoid replacing a Brahmin with a Thakur like Koshiyari and create caste problems for the party in a state with huge Brahmin and Thakur populations.

Significantly, at a time when the youth factor in politics is being much talked about, the party has chosen a relatively young Pokhriyal to succeed the 75-year-old Khanduri. The other hopeful Prakash Pant is 49. Khanduri’s rival Koshiyari (67) was, however, on the wrong side of the age divide.

First Published: Jun 24, 2009 16:04 IST