Shah, Nadda, Dhami meet over new government in Uttarakhand

Legislature party meeting of the BJP, which retained the state in the recent elections, will be held later in the day

New Delhi: The newly-elected MLAs of Uttarakhand are likely to take the oath in the state Assembly in Dehradun on Monday while the legislature party meeting of the BJP, which retained the state in the recent elections, will be held later in the day to officially choose its leader, who will head the government. The new government is likely to take the oath on March 23, when the BJP top brass, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are expected to attended.

On Sunday, the BJP’s core group for the state, including caretaker CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, senior leader Satpal Maharaj, state unit chief Madan Kaushik, former Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni held a meeting with Union home minister Amit Shah to discuss the formation of the new government. BJP president J.P. Nadda and general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh were also present. The BJP top brass later met the PM.

The meeting assumes significance amid speculation on whether or not Mr Dhami, who was the BJP’s face in the recent election but who lost his Assembly seat, will continue to lead the government or a new leader will be given that responsibility. While a section within the party wants Mr Dhami to continue, some senior state leaders have raised objections.

Ahead of the MLAs’ swearing-in, Kaladhungi BJP MLA Banshidhar Bhagat will take the oath as the Assembly’s pro-tem speaker. The BJP bagged 47 of the 70 Assembly seats in the hill state, with the Congress winning 19. Two seats were won by the BSP while two Independent candidates also won.

Prior to the legislature party meeting, Mr Kaushik met party MLAs and senior leaders in Dehradun late in the evening. The BJP’s central observers for the legislature party meeting, defence minister Rajnath Singh and minister of state for external affairs Meenakshi Lekhi, will reach the state capital early on Monday.

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