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Khanduri to be new Uttarakhand CM
March 01, 2007 23:37 IST
The announcement of Khanduri's election by BJP General Secretaries Gopinath Munde and O P Mathur came after a nearly six-hour meeting of BJP MLAs and was marred by slogan-shouting by his supporters and those of his rival in the party Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, chief of the state unit of BJP. Munde and Mathur claimed Khanduri, 72-year-old former army engineer, was "unanimously" elected leader of the legislature party.
Munde said the name of Khanduri was proposed by Koshiyari, a former chief minister, and seconded by party General Secretary Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. He also claimed the support of two independent MLAs but refused to disclose their names. "We will disclose their names before the Governor", Munde said.
Munde expressed confidence that the BJP, which won 34 seats and fell short of majority by just one seat in the 70-member state assembly with an effective strength of 69 would prove its strength in the House.
The BJP legislature party took place against the backdrop of reports that Koshiyari was opposing the candidature of Khanduri. As soon as Khanduri's name was announced, slogan-shouting by supporters of Khanduri and Koshiyari broke out, which led to chaotic scenes and jostling.
Neither Koshiyari and Khanduri appeared before the media despite assurances by top BJP leaders that the two leaders would answer queries of newspersons. Asked what role will Koshiyari play in the new government, Munde said he would certainly play a "big role."
Referring to issue-based support given by Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, he said BJP has not received any support till now. Earlier in the day, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal agreeed to give issue-based support to BJP to form the government. Emerging from a meeting of top party functionaries, including all its three MLAs, UKD President B D Raturi said his party would extend support if BJP implements all its issues, which formed the basis of its election manifesto.
These issues include the contentious shifting of the state's permanent capital to Gairsain in Chamoli district, Raturi said. "We will share power with BJP only if all our issues are implemented," he said adding otherwise in case of partial implementation of these issues, UKD would sit in the opposition or join hands with other parties.
UKD formed an 11-member committee headed by Raturi to hold talks with BJP on all the issues raised by it.