The Uttarakhand BJP legislature party will hold a crucial meeting today in Dehradun to finalize the Chief Minister of the hill state. Notably, the swearing-in ceremony will take place on Saturday. BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had secured historic mandate by winning 57 out of 70 assembly seats. This was the first that any party has such a mandate. It has been learned that PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah will be attending the oath taking ceremony.
The legislature party meeting will be held at the Pacific Hotel here tomorrow at 3 PM in the presence of the central observers and party incharge of Uttarakhand affairs Shyam Jaju, Pradesh BJP president Ajay Bhatt said.”All the newly elected party MLAs have been asked to be in Dehradun tomorrow for the meeting and the day after when the new chief minister is to be sworn in,” Bhatt said.
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The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the Parade Ground here on Saturday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah and a host of prominent party leaders from the country as well as the state attending it, he said. Parade Ground, the venue of the swearing-in ceremony is being prepared for the event with the Chief Secretary S Ramaswamy himself monitoring the preparations. Narendra Tomar and Saroj Pandey, who have been appointed party observers for Uttarakhand, will attend the meet.
Speculations are still going on about appointment of the new chief minister in the state with the presence of over six heavyweight contenders for the top office but the race seems to be narrowing down between Pithoragarh MLA Prakash Pant and Doiwala MLA Trivendra Singh Rawat emerging as front runners for the post even as party sources here said the final choice will emerge only with stamp of approval from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
“The factor working in favour of Pant is his long association with the organisation as well as his ministerial and legislative experience,” a senior party leader requesting anonymity said.
Pant was the first Speaker of Uttarakhand Assembly in the interim government after the state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000 and also became a minister subsequently holding plum portfolios like tourism and culture and parliamentary affairs.
Trivendra Singh Rawat, who has been elected from Doiwala, also continues to be in the race for the top office due to his strong RSS roots and long experience in ministerial positions.
Trivendra who is incharge of party affairs in Jharkhand and is also credited for guiding the party to victory there is also known for his proximity with the party’s central leaders, a fact which seems to strengthen his chances.
Chaubattakhal MLA Satpal Maharaj was also in the race till recently but his chances seem to have been dimmed by the fact that he is relatively a new entrant to the party having joined it as late as 2014.
The names of BJP’s three former CMs, now MPs, were also doing the rounds as probables due to their seniority but party sources here said only an MLA will be considered for the post as the party may not like to disturb its MPs.
However, things would be clear only when party’s legislators vent their views on the issue in front of the party observers tomorrow and a final call is taken by BJP president Amit Shah who has been authorized by the party’s Parliamentary Board to take a decision, they said.
(With agency inputs)