New Delhi: BJP national secretary and in charge of Jharkhand Trivendra Singh Rawat will be the next chief minister of Uttarakhand. His name was announced by the party following a meeting of the legislative group in Uttarakhand, which took place in the presence of central party observers Narendra Tomar and Saroj Pandey.
Some of the party workers appear to have already got an inkling on Thursday that Rawat, who fought and won the assembly election from Doiwala constituency in Dehradun district, had been picked by the party ahead of former assembly speaker Prakash Pant, who had won his election from Pithoragarh in Kumaon division.
It was a toss-up for the party to elect either a leader from Garhwal like Rawat or one from Kumaon like Pant. While initially the names of former chief ministers B.C. Khanduri and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, who are both members of parliament now, as well as those of Vijay Bahuguna and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, were also under consideration along with those of state unit BJP president Ajay Bhatt, former Union minister Satpal Maharaj and national spokesperson Anil Baluni, the search the fight had narrowed down to Maharaj, Pant and Rawat.
In the last few days, Pant and Rawat were the only ones who remained in contention as the search entered the final lap. The BJP parliamentary board had earlier authorised party national president Amit Shah to take a final decision on the next chief minister. Shah had sent the two central observers to speak to all the senior party leaders in the state to arrive at a decision.
On Thursday, a large crowd had gathered outside the residence of Rawat as news spread that the party had chosen him as the next chief minister. Rawat, for his part, had maintained that the name would be announced at the legislative party meeting on Friday.
With the announcement of Rawat’s name for the key post, the party has now shifted its focus to the preparations for the oath-taking ceremony, which would take place at Parade Ground in Dehradun on Saturday. With the chief secretary S. Ramaswamy himself supervising the preparations, there is a strong buzz that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah and several senior party leaders and Union ministers will attend the event.
Beating all opinion and exit poll estimates, BJP did exceedingly well in the assembly elections, winning 57 of the 70 seats while the Congress, led by former chief minister Harish Rawat managing to win just 11 and independents two.