Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanges greetings with Uttarakhand Cabinet Minister Rekha Arya, during the oath taking ceremony of the cabinet ministers, in Dehradun. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami is also seen. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: Pushkar Singh Dhami on Wednesday took oath as the 12th chief minister of Uttarakhand in the presence of BJP top brass including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president J.P. Nadda, several Union ministers and saints and seers at Dehradun's Parade Ground. The hill state will also get its first women Speaker in Kotdwar MLA and former CM B.S. Khanduri's daughter, Ritu Khanduri Bhushan. This is 46-year-old Mr Dhami’s second consecutive stint as the chief minister, who performed Ganga aarti in Haridwar later in the evening. The first Cabinet meeting of the Dhami government will be held on Wednesday.
Apart from Mr Dhami, eight ministers were also administered the oath by Uttarakhand Governor Lt Gen (retd) Gurmit Singh.
Mr Dhami, under whose leadership the party won recent Assembly polls, lost the elections from Khatima, the constituency he had been representing since 2012. He needs to be elected to the state Assembly within six months to continue as chief minister.
The BJP MLAs who took oath as state ministers included Satpal Maharaj, Dhan Singh Rawat, Subodh Uniyal, Premchand Agarwal, Rekha Arya, Ganesh Joshi, Chandan Ram Das and Saurabh Bahuguna.
Except three -- former CM Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saurabh Bahuguna, Bageshwar MLA Chandan Ram Das and Rishikesh legislator Premchand Agarwal -- all other leaders were part of the previous Dhami-led Cabinet.
Mr Agarwal was the Speaker in the previous Assembly.
Other than the PM and the BJP president, Union home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh, minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, chief ministers of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Assam attended the swearing-in ceremony. Goa CM designate Pramod Sawant and former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje also attended the event.
The BJP had won 47 of the 70 Assembly seats in the elections, the results of which were declared on March 10.