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Updated: March 8, 2012 04:28 IST

Congress, BJP in race for top job in Uttarakhand

C. K. Chandramohan
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SUSPENSE CONTINUES: Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri greets the media as he comes out after a meeting of BJP leaders in Dehra Dun on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
PTI
SUSPENSE CONTINUES: Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri greets the media as he comes out after a meeting of BJP leaders in Dehra Dun on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

Khanduri asked to continue till the next Chief Minister is sworn in

Wednesday witnessed hectic in-house consultations between the Uttarakhand leaders and top national leaderships of the Opposition Congress and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party camps.

Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri tendered his resignation to Governor Margaret Alva and he was asked to continue till the next Chief Minister was sworn in.

The Congress Legislature Party held a meeting to elect a leader in the presence of party in-charge Ch. Virendra Singh at the residence of State president Yashpal Arya.

The BJP Legislature Party, in the presence of senior leader Rajnath Singh, authorised the party high command to decide its leader.

Both parties seem to be seized of the same issue with more than three claimants to the top job — that is the Leader of the House or the Leader of the Opposition — each issuing veiled threats, an element that has plagued the Chief Minister's chair since the State was formed.

Mr. Ch. Virendra Singh led the chief ministership hopefuls —Yashpal Arya, Indira Hirdeyesh, Leader of the Opposition Harak Singh Rawat , MPs Vijay Bahuguna , Satpal Maharaj seeking the slot for his wife Amrita Rawat and Union Minister of State Harish Rawat — to New Delhi in the morning where party president Sonia Gandhi is reported to have told them to return to Dehra Dun and sort out the issue by securing the support of Independents and others to achieve majority in the House and also advise her on who should be made leader of the Congress Legislative Party.

Mr. Harish Rawat is said to be seeking the job for himself or his protégé Pritam Singh — the three-time MLA from the Chakrata tribal area. Mr. Singh fulfils the criteria of being a tribal as well as a thakur.

Mr. Arya claimed that the party, having 32 members out of 70, had secured the support of three Independents, the lone Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) MLA and the three Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs taking the figure to 39.

State BSP president Surajmal, however, said party supremo Mayawati would decide on which party the BSP should support to form the government.

State BJP president Bishen Singh Chufal said the party with 31 MLAs was exploring the prospects of forming the next government.

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