The name of the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand — one of the four states retained by the BJP in the recently concluded assembly elections — will be announced this evening after the legislature party meeting. The BJP’s central observers for the state, Union minister Rajnath Singh and senior leader Meenakshi Lekhi, have landed in Dehradun and are heading for the BJP head office for the meeting.
While outgoing Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami is seen as the front-runner for the top post, there are several contenders, including former Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, former Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, and senior leader Satpal Maharaj.
All four had met Union Minister and the party’s chief strategist Amit Shah at his Delhi home yesterday. Party chief JP Nadda was also present at the meeting.
The BJP has won a record second term in the hill state with 47 of the 70 assembly seats after a campaign spearheaded by Mr Dhami, but he lost the election from Khatima, leading to uncertainty about the top post that has persisted for 10 days.
Mr Dhami was made the Chief Minister in July last year after his predecessors Trivendra Singh Rawat and Tirath Singh Rawat came under a lot of criticism over their leadership.
It is believed that the party opted for Mr Dhami to counter the Congress and its former Chief Minister Harish Rawat in Kumaon. Mr Dhami is a two-time MLA from the region.
Mr Dhami is still the frontrunner for the Chief Minister’s post, though a section within the party favour a change.
Indicating that everything has been sorted, state BJP spokesperson Shadab Shams said, “Only the announcement of the name remains. We have conducted a great campaign under the leadership of our former Chief Minister, the young leader Pushkar Singh Dhami and won a great victory. I think he who led the campaign — his efforts will not be wasted. He will surely get something as his reward”.