Uttarakhand Election 2017: A look at the key claimants from BJP to chief minister's throne
Congress has declared Harish Rawat as its CM candidate, but BJP has at least half a dozen aspirants who may claim the chief minister's post in Uttarakhand.
The Uttarakhand Assembly election was contested primarily between India's two most prominent parties — Congress and BJP. The state of the two parties in Uttarakhand this time, however, couldn't have been any different.
The Congress party is driven primarily by the personality cult of Chief Minister Harish Rawat. From ticket distribution to campaigning, Rawat was the face of Congress' Uttarakhand campaign.
On the other hand, the BJP has relied primarily on poaching rebel Congress MLAs. With Rawat rising as a towering figure in Congress and the party throwing its weight firmly behind him, other leaders felt slighted and defected to the BJP. It nearly triggered a constitutional crisis last year, but Rawat survived.
Here's a list of the key aspirants to the chief minister's throne in Uttarakhand:
Vijay Bahuguna: The former Congress leader was the previous chief minister of the hill state, and the person most likely to become CM again if the BJP does secure a victory. The cloudburst of 2013 impacted the state in a big way, and many blamed Bahuguna's lackadaisical approach for this.
Rescue operations were launched about four to five days after the disaster hit the state in June 2013, and Bahuguna faced bitter criticism. In April last year, he along with nine other rebel Congress MLAs, had defected to the BJP.
BC Khanduri: Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri, known popularly as BC Khanduri, is a two-time chief minister of Uttarakhand, ascending to the post for a two-year period immediately following BJP's win in the 2007 Assembly election.
He became CM again for another two-year period in 2011. However, his administration was blamed for the party's narrow defeat in the 2012 Assembly election. That, and the presence of Bahuguna in the party ranks could make things difficult for Khanduri to become chief minister again.
Ramesh Pokhriyal: Pokhriyal is another former chief minister of the BJP, who is contesting the polls this year and has hopes of ascending to the CM's throne. Pokhriyal was chief minister for a two-year period between 2009 and 2011, but a series of scams involving the state government meant he was asked by the party high command to step down.
There were fears back in 2011 that having Pokhriyal at the helm of the party may hurt its image, and this may mean that he may again be overlooked for the CM's post, especially since Khanduri and Bahuguna are in the BJP's fold.
Ajay Bhatt: Bhatt has been state BJP president since the summer of last year, when nine Congress rebels joined the party. He has also served as the leader of opposition in the state Assembly since 2012, when the Congress formed a government in the hill state.
As state president, Bhatt's main role has been to keep his flock together, especially since the party now boasts of a series of prominent leaders, and could have resulted in a crisis had the balancing act not worked out. If the party does win the election, as the exit polls have predicted, Bhatt's stock would rise significantly.
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Anil Baluni is one of the young faces of BJP in Uttarakhand. Anil Baluni hasn't had a spectacular political career. He studied journalism and was active in student politics. Baluni has the right credentials. He is considered politically suave. He is seen within the oribit of the duo of Amit Shah and Narendra Modi.
Trivendra Singh Rawat
He is member of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly in India. He was elected from Doiwala (Vidhan Sabha constituency) in the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly election, 2002. He is the BJP state in-charge Jharkhand. He was also Uttarakhand State BJP President.
Bhagat Singh Koshiyari
Koshyari began his career with the RSS. In 1997, he became the member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council. In 2000, Koshyari was appointed the minister of irrigation, law, energy and legislative affairs of the newly developed state of Uttarakhand. In 2001, Bhagat replaced Nityanand Swami and became the chief minister of the state.
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