Dhami sworn in as new Uttarakhand CM, 11 others administered oath as cabinet ministers
Dehradun, July 4 (PTI): Pushkar Singh Dhami was sworn in as the 11th chief minister of Uttarakhand, along with an 11-member cabinet, here on Sunday.
The oath of office was administered on Dhami and his ministers by Governor Baby Rani Maurya at a simple function held on the lawns of the Raj Bhawan in the presence of a host of MPs and MLAs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and senior government officials.
No new face has been inducted into Dhami’s cabinet, which remains as it was under his predecessor Tirath Singh Rawat. The only difference is that this time, all the ministers are of cabinet rank.
The ministers sworn in on Sunday are Satpal Maharaj, Harak Singh Rawat, Bansidhar Bhagat, Yashpal Arya, Bishan Singh Chufal, Subodh Uniyal, Arvind Pandey, Ganesh Joshi, Dhan Singh Rawat, Rekha Arya and Yatishwaranand.
Rekha Arya, Dhan Singh Rawat and Yatishwaranand, who were ministers of state in Tirath Rawat’s cabinet, have been elevated to cabinet rank.
Earlier in the day, Dhami met Satpal Maharaj at his residence with a bouquet of flowers amid reports that the senior leader and a few other MLAs of the saffron party were sulking since Saturday as they were not happy with his election as the new leader of the BJP legislature party in Uttarakhand.
Dhami later said there was no resentment anywhere. All those said to have been unhappy with the party high-command over its choice of new chief minister were present at the swearing-in ceremony and were sworn in as ministers.
At 45, Dhami takes over as the youngest chief minister of Uttarakhand. A two-time MLA from Khatima in Udham Singh Nagar district, Dhami replaces Tirath Singh Rawat, who resigned on Friday.
Dhami is considered to be close to Maharashtra Governor and former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who is his political mentor.
Dhami takes over the reins of power at a time when Uttarakhand has a few months to go for the Assembly polls, which are due early next year.
Earlier in the day, Dhami paid courtesy visits to his predecessors Tirath Singh Rawat and Trivendra Singh Rawat at their residences and another former chief minister and BJP stalwart Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri.
Talking to reporters after meeting them, Dhami said he had come to seek their blessings and guidance.
Dhami is a promising young Thakur leader from the Kumaon region who began his political career with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), in 1990.
He was the officer on special duty (OSD) to his political mentor Koshyari when the latter was the chief minister of Uttarakhand.
He also served as the president of the BJP’s Uttarakhand Yuva Morcha from 2002 to 2008.
An attempt by the saffron party to strike the right caste and regional balance ahead of next year’s Assembly polls is evident in its choice of Dhami as the new chief minister.
As state BJP chief Madan Kaushik is a Brahmin from the Garhwal region, having a Thakur leader from Kumaon as the chief minister is a clever move aimed at wooing two major sections of the electorate in the two regions of the hill state.