Debating India

UTTARANCHAL

Sonia to choose CM

Monday 25 February 2002, by CHANDRAMOHAN*C.K.

DEHRA DUN, FEB. 24: The Congress romped home in the first elections to the Uttaranchal State Assembly by winning 36 out of the 70 seats. The ruling BJP cut a sorry figure by bagging a mere 19 seats. The Samajwadi Party which had two MLAs in the outgoing interim Assembly failed to open an account while the BSP performed extremely well by cornering 7 seats. The regional outfit - the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal bagged four seats, one went to the LCP while Independents got three seats.

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Prominent winner: Bhagat Singh Koshiyari; Prominent loser: Koijam

The Congress has returned to power after over a decade in the region and as the first elected Government of Uttaranchal. The victory, according to senior observers, was a result of a general resentment among the masses against the ruling BJP. The party seems to have lost the confidence of the people when it changed the Chief Minister a few months ago. The non-performing Chief Minister, Nityanand Swami, was replaced by a rather weak leader - Bhagat Singh Koshiary. The BJP leadership harped on issues like national security, Kargil and terrorism.

This was countered by the Congress with its slogan of all-round development for all.The State unit Congress president, Harish Rawat, said he would call a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in a day or two to elect the leader. The choice of the Chief Minister will be left to Sonia Gandhi.

See online : The Hindu

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