Khanduri steps down as Uttarakhand chief minister (Lead)

June 23rd, 2009 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) Faced with a rebellion after his Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) rout in the Lok Sabha elections in the state, Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri has stepped down from the post. The BJP will decide on a successor Wednesday.
The BJP lost all the five Lok Sabha seats in the state in the recent polls, including the three it had won in 2004.

BJP spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh confirmed to IANS that Khanduri had “offered to resign and it has been accepted”.

Khanduri,75, was facing a rebellion from party legislators ever since the poll defeat. “Khanduri had offered to resign immediately after the poll results but it was not accepted till last night,” a party source told IANS.

Party president Rajnath Singh was initially unwilling to accept the resignation, but agreed seeing the unrest among party MLAs in the state.

Meanwhile, Khanduri said that he had offered his resignation owning up moral responsibility for the debacle.

“Taking moral responsibility of the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, I have given my resignation to the party president. He has called a legislature party meeting Wednesday where a new leader would be elected,” Khanduri told reporters at the Uttarakhand Bhavan here.

“I had sent my resignation to the party president three days after the Lok Sabha results but it was not accepted. I once again offered my resignation to him,” Khanduri said.

“As a chief minister I have always given importance to development. Before the Lok Sabha elections, we had registered a glorious victory in all the elections in the state, but the results of the Lok Sabha elections were not as per expectations,” he added.

Former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, who was leading the revolt against Khanduri, resigned as Rajya Sabha member last week to pressurise the party leadership to remove him.

Ten other legislators along with Koshiyari had written a complaint letter to Rajnath Singh against Khanduri.

According to party sources, state Health Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal is a front runner for the post and not Koshiyari.

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