Ramesh Pokhriyal to be new Uttarakhand CM

Ramesh Pokhriyal

51-year-old journalist-turned-politician Pokhriyal was elected unanimously leader of the BJP legislature party at the meeting of MLAs here, state Agriculture Minister Trivendra Rawat said.

Pokhriyal's name was proposed by outgoing Chief Minister Khanduri and seconded by state Tourism Minister and of the contenders for the top post Prakash Pant, Rawat and Chandan Ramdas.

Khanduri will submit his resignation to Governor B L Joshi tomorrow after which Pokhriyal and his new team will be sworn in.

The legislature party meeting was attended by central party observers M Venkaiah Naidu and Thawar Chand Gehlot besides, dissident leaders B S Koshiyari, whose campaign led to the removal of Khanduri, and state unit president Bachchi Singh Rawat.

After being elected, Pokhriyal said he would try to meet the expectations of the leadership and MLAs who have elected him.

BJP has a total strength of 35 MLAs in Uttarakhand Assembly, which has an effective strength of 69.

The exercise to elect the new Chief Minister started earlier in the day with the central observers asking the MLAs to file their preference in writing.

Koshiyari had been demanding Khanduri's removal for the past few months. He had resigned from Rajya Sabha last week to pressurise the central leadership for a change of guard.

Khanduri became the first major casualty in the BJP after the Lok Sabha debacle, capping a prolonged dissident campaign against him.

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