Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party's Parliamentary Committee on Tuesday termed the victory of the party in Punjab and Uttarakhand as a decisive rejection of the Congress and a mandate against malgovernance of the UPA Government.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, attended by senior party leaders including party president, Rajnath Singh, L.K. Advani, Venkaiah Naidu, Murli Manohar Joshi, party general secretary, Arun Jaitley informed that the BJP Legislature Party would meet on March 1 in Dehra Dun to elect a leader.

Refusing to say if the name of the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand had been discussed at the meeting, Mr. Jaitley said it would be decided democratically by the MLAs.

Senior party leader and general secretary in-charge of the State, Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Gopinath Munde and O.P. Mathur would be the central observers who will oversee the election of the BJP Legislature Party in the hill state.

With reference to Punjab, Mr. Jaitley said that a joint meeting of the newly elected MLAs of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP would be held in Chandigarh on Wednesday to elect a new leader of the NDA formation.

He said the BJP legislators would also meet separately after that to elect their own group leader. Asked if the BJP would demand the slot of a Deputy Chief Minister in the new Government in view of its good performance, Mr. Jaitley said that it would be discussed once the formalities of electing a new leader are completed. He said although the BJP was one short of a majority in Uttarakhand, it was already in talks with the large number of Independents.

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