May 22, 2009 4:14:04 pm
Even as the two member committee from the BJP headquarters reached Dehradun to deliberate with the legislators on the future of Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri,the day was marked by large scale lobbying in both the camps led by Khanduri and his bete-noire Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
The two member committee comprising Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Thevar Chand Gehlot reached Dehradun in the afternoon. They are scheduled to meet the 34 party legislators in the state and discuss the issue pertaining to a change in the leadership and the successor of Khanduri. Naqvi replaced the earlier choice of the party Gopinath Munde for doing this job.
The last 24 hours witnessed dinner and lunch diplomacy at work with both the camps claiming the support of maximum number of BJP legislators in the state.
Khanduri is learnt to have hosted a dinner meet that was well attended by the legislators. His supporters claim that 24 of the sitting 34 legislators do not want him to be removed from the office of the Chief Minister.
As a counter move,a lunch was hosted by Koshiyari at his residence on Friday. His supporters claim that more than 17 legislators want Koshiyari back as the Chief Minister.
Interestingly there is a set of legislators that was present at both the events. Besides Koshiyari,the names of Health minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank,Tourism minister Dr Prakash Pant and former minister in erstwhile Uttar Pradesh Kedar Fonia are doing the rounds as possible successor of Khanduri.
The dismal performance of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls has placed Khanduri in the dock. The party failed to win even a single seat out of five in the state. Khanduri has taken the moral responsibility for the loss and has asked the Central Parliamentary Board of the party to decide upon his future.
The party also faces a fresh challenge in the form of the by-poll for the Kapkot seat in less than a week. The seat had fallen vacant with Koshiyari being sent to the Rajya Sabha.
Although the BJP had managed to establish a lead from this constituency in the Lok Sabha polls,it remains to be seen how the party fares in the by-poll.
The central leadership of the BJP had stepped in defence of Khanduri twice last year when more than 20 of the party legislators had approached the party high command in Delhi for a change in the leadership.
The party had entrusted Khanduri with the responsibility of delivering good results in the Lok Sabha. Over the last two years the BJP had won a series of elections in the state ranging from parliamentary and assembly by-polls to local and Panchayat elections. However,heavy anti incumbency coupled with internal strife has resulted in a humiliating defeat for the party in the Lok Sabha polls.
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