Mad scramble for top BJP post

Leaders eye Ukhand unit chiefs seat

Hectic lobbying is going on within Uttarakhand BJP unit for the post of pradesh party chief as the tenure of its current president Bishan Singh Chufal came to an end last month.

About a dozen candidates are in the fray for the post, but former MLA Trivendra Singh Rawat and ex-MLC Tirath Singh Rawat have emerged as front-runners, said a senior party leader.

While Tirath Singh Rawat who comes from Sangh background and has the backing of former chief minister Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri, Trivendra Singh Rawat has the support of the party stalwart and former CM Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.

The party’s central leadership is considering those candidates who can provide strong leadership in the state for the next year’s civic body polls and the 2014 general elections, the leader added.

A party source said whoever manages to get the support of three former BJP chief ministers of the state — Khanduri, Koshiyari and Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank — will emerge as the next chief of the pradesh unit.

These former CMs are looked upon as the pillars of the party and the next chief who has to pilot the party in the next general elections must have their unstinted support, the source added.

While Khanduri and Koshiyari have put forward their choices, Nishank still holds his cards close to his chest.

The source said the central leadership will try to build a consensus among the three former CMs.

Other prominent names lobbying for the post are Mohan Singh Rawat Gaonwasi, Naresh Bansal, Narendra Pal Rawat, Vinod Uniyal, Khajan Das and Ajay Tamta.

Though hectic parleys are on between state BJP leaders and party national general secretaries Ramlal Agrawal and Saudan Singh, a consensus candidate for the post is yet to emerge.

The process will be over by January 14, added the source. The election of the state party chief was put off twice. Once due to the death of senior party leaders and former CM Nityanand Swami.

The second time owing to Gujarat CM Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony slated for Wednesday, which will keep the party’s central leaders preoccupied.

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