BJP has plenty for CM choice

BJP has plenty for CM choice

With a massive victory in Uttarakhand, the BJP has a broad pool of talent to choose its chief ministerial candidate from.

Trivendra Singh Rawat, Prakash Pant, and former Congressman Satpal Maharaj are being seen as contenders for the top post.

The BJP has had a tumultuous previous stint in power forcing it to change the chief ministers twice between 2007 and 2012. A clear two-thirds majority will give the BJP the comfort of having a smooth run in the state.

A spiritual guru-turned-politician Satpal Maharaj’s campaign in Chaubattakhal spoke about he being a chief ministerial probable in case the BJP came to power. The 66-year-old former Union minister has tough competition from relatively young Rawat and Pant.

Rawat has won from Doiwala Assembly constituency in Haridwar, while Pant bagged the Pithoragarh seat from the Congress.

Almost a dozen prominent leaders of the Congress had switched sides to the BJP ahead of the elections and at least some of them do harbour chief ministerial ambitions. Maharaj considers himself as the first among the turncoats to have joined the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections of 2014.

Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri and Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ have adorned the chief minister’s chair in the past. While age may not be on the side of 74-year-old Koshiyari and 82-year-old Khanduri, Pokhriyal s tenure was riddled with allegations of irregularities and mis-governance.

The three former chief ministers are now BJP representatives in Parliament and the party may prefer to project a fresh face in Uttarakhand to lead the party in the future.

It remains to be seen whether the BJP would opt for Maharaj or true-blue BJP leaders among Rawat and Pant.

Another chief ministerial probable, Ajay Bhatt, the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, has been ruled out after his loss from Ranikhet Assembly seat to Karan Mahara of the Congress by a margin of 4,981 votes.

Maharaj has been the Union minister for railways and finance in the H D Deve Gowda government.

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