- BJP MLAs Dhan Singh Rawat and Satpal Maharaj are leading ahead in the race for next U'khand CM.
- The Bhartiya Janata Party won the Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttarakhand with a thumping majority.
- However, present CM Pushkar Singh Dhami lost the elections from the Khatima constituency.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing an uphill task to decide who will sit at the helm of affairs in Uttarakhand where the party returned to power for a second consecutive term but its incumbent CM Pushkar Singh Dhami lost the battle from Khatima -- a seat he had been winning for the last two consecutive elections. Dhami lost to Congress Bhuwan Chandra Kapri by a handsome margin of 6,579 in the just-concluded Assembly elections.
Dhami was handpicked by the BJP leadership following the exit of Tirath Singh Rawat, averting a constitutional crisis that requires a CM or Minister(s) to become a member of the legislature within six months from the date of taking the charge. Tirath Singh Rawat was not a member of the state legislature and continues to serve as a Lok Sabha MP from the Garhwal constituency. The Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly is unicameral.
The BJP leadership has now started looking for a suitable CM candidate for the hill state. Sources told India TV that the party leadership is unlikely to give the CM's job to a non-MLA. They added that the CM will be picked from the newly elected 47 MLAs.
For now, the two names that are doing the rounds for the top job are Dhan Singh Rawat and Satpal Maharaj.
Dhan Singh Rawat won from Srinagar Garhwal, defeating Ganesh Godiyal of Congress by 587 votes. He served as a Cabinet Minister in the Dhami government.
Satpal Maharaj, who quit the Congress in 2014 and joined the BJP, won the election from Chaubattakhal by defeating the nearest rival Keshar Singh of the Congress by a margin of 11,430 votes. Satpal Maharaj, a member of the BJP's National Executive, also served as Minister in the BJP government.
Anil Baluni, a Rajya Sabha MP, has also emerged as a frontrunner for the post. Baluni hails from Uttarakhand. Besides, Ajay Bhatt, a Lok Sabha member from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar, is also in the race.
The BJP stormed to power in the state with a thumping majority, pocketing 47 of the 70 seats. After the result was declared yesterday, Dhami thanked the people of the state and assured that the new BJP government will continue the good works under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I want to thank the people for giving the party a two-thirds majority. I went repeatedly in their midst to tell them about the work done in road and health sectors under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Dhami told reporters in Dehradun with party national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and party's poll in-charge Pralhad Joshi sitting next to him.
Besides Uttarakhand, the BJP also gained a comfortable majority in Goa, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dethroned the Congress with a three-fourths majority in Punjab.