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Home > News > PTI

BJP sets in motion CM election process for Uttarakhand

February 27, 2007 23:23 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday deputed its general secretaries Gopinath Munde and Om Prakash Mathur as its central observers to oversee the election of Chief Minister in Uttarakhand where its leader B C Khanduri emerged as a frontrunner for the top job. A former Union Minister, Khanduri is a Brahmin, a community, which makes up a large population in the hill state.

He was in charge of the party's campaign committee for Uttarakhand. At the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting, party chief Rajnath Singh gave Munde his first assignment as general secretary as he appointed him as a central observer along with Mathur for overseeing the choice of the new leader in Uttrakhand.

They will name the Chief Minister after consultations with BJP MLAs. The BJP has fallen one seat short of majority in the 70-member assembly but it appears set to form the government possibly with support of Uttrakhand Kranti Dal or some independent MLAs.

State BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari's name has also surfaced as a probable candidate for Chief Minister's job. The BJP, which won 19 of the 23 seats it fought in Punjab as against three in the 2002 vote in the state, deputed its senior leaders M Venkaiah Naidu and Thawar Chand Gehlot as central observers for election of the floor leader in the state assembly.

The saffron party fought the February 13 elections as a junior partner of Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab.

Buoyed by its unprecedented success in Punjab, the BJP also apparently floated a trial balloon over the Deputy Chief Minister's job in the state.

"These issues will be discussed at Wednesday's meeting of the party MLAs," party general secretary Arun Jaitley told reporters when asked whether the BJP could ask for the Deputy Chief Minister's post in Punjab.

He refused any further comment. However, party sources admit privately that it will be difficult for the BJP to press for the position because it does not have a leader matching Akali chief Parkash Singh Badal's stature in the state.

Both Jaitley and party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad will accompany the central observers to Punjab and Uttarakhand respectively.

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