Ramesh Pokhriyal is new Uttarakhand chief minister (Lead)

June 24th, 2009 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Ramesh Pokhriyal was Wednesday named the chief minister of Uttarakhand replacing B.C. Khanduri, who has stepped down after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) complete rout in the state in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
A meeting of the BJP legislators here Wednesday morning unanimously selected Pokhriyal, party soruces said, adding that his name was proposed by Khanduri.

“I thank party members and Khanduriji. As chief minister, my efforts will be to work to fulfil Khandurji’s dream to make our state heaven on earth,” Pokhriyal told reporters.

Flanked by senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Nadu and Khanduri, Pokhriyal said: “I hope to live up to all expectations. Khanduriji has been my guiding force since I entered politics in 1991 and I will work on his mission to make Uttarakhand a model state.”

Pokhriyal held the health portfolio in Khanduri’s cabinet.

Khanduri had offered to step down following the party’s poor performance in the state in the Lok Sabha elections and the party Tuesday accepted his resignation.

In the April-May elections, the state’s ruling party lost all five Lok Sabha seats from the state. In 2004, the party had won three of these seats.

Khanduri, 75, was facing a rebellion from party legislators since poll results. Former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, leading the rebels, had last week submitted his resignation as Rajya Sabha member - a move seen as pressuring the party to name him as the next chief minister, but he was asked to withdraw his resignation.

Khanduri will now submit his resignation to Uttarakhand Governor B.L. Joshi Thursday and then Pokhriyal will be sworn in.

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