UP, U'khand CMs in coming days

The BJP legislative party in Uttar Pradesh will meet on Saturday to elect its chief minister, a week after the Assembly election results were announced, giving an unprecedented three-fourth majority to the NDA.

For Uttarakhand, the party legislative party is expected to meet on Friday to pick its chief ministerial candidate, party sources said.

Two central observers — Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav — will be in Lucknow to attend the meeting, which would be attended by 312 party MLAs.

Naidu and Bhupendra will give feedback to BJP president Amit Shah, who has been authorised by the parliamentary board to choose the chief minister of UP.

“Newly elected BJP MLAs will meet in Lucknow on March 18 for electing the legislature party leader,” confirmed BJP state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak.

Rajnath still in race
Notwithstanding Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s denial that he was interested in shifting to UP as chief minister, party sources said he may not be out of contention given that he had addressed more than 100 rallies , and is a tall leader of the state.  Singh was chief minister of undivided UP, before Uttarakhand was carved out of the state.

In fact, delays in government formation in UP and Uttarakhand were attributed to “extra caution” by the BJP in choosing the chief ministers. The final call, however, will rest with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah.

Others in the race are Union Minister Manoj Sinha and state BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, who was admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Thursday after he complained of uneasiness.

Sources said former ministers Trivendra Singh Rawat and Prakash Pant continue to be frontrunners for the Uttarakhand chief minister’s post. The swearing-in ceremony will be held on Saturday, a day after the MLAs decide their leader in a meeting, which will also be attended by two central observers, including Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
Uttarakhand state unit president Ajay Bhatt said that Modi and Shah will lead the top brass of the central government and party to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

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