Zee Media Bureau
Dehradun: Senior Congress leader Harish Rawat on Saturday took oath as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand after he was named for the post by the Congress Party.
Uttarakhand governor Aziz Qureshi administered the oath of office and secrecy to Rawat.
Along with Rawat, Harak Singh Rawat and Indira Hridayesh also took oath as Ministers in his cabinet.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi chose Rawat after outgoing chief minister Vijay Bahuguna moved a resolution at a meeting of Congress legislators here authorising her to select his successor.
Central observers Janardan Dwivedi, Ambika Soni and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who were present at the meeting, conveyed the message to the party high command.
Rawat has replaced Bahuguna who was under fire or his non-performance. The decision was finalised after the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) met in Dehradun today.
The swearing-in ceremony, originally scheduled to take place at 3:45 PM, was delayed with the CLP meeting stretching to a little over five hours and concluding finally at 5:15 pm.
Though some reports attributed the delay to insistence of the seven-member PDP on ministerial berths, Dwivedi said the delay was caused as it took time to hear from Gandhi who was on a tour of Karnataka.
The PDP, sharing power with the Congress in the state, comprises three each BSP and Independent MLAs and one UKD member.
Ever since Vijay Bahuguna quit as Chief Minister, Rawat`s appointment as his successor was considered a near-certainty in political circles.
Some other names, including that of senior party leader Indira Hridayesh and member of Bahuguna`s Cabinet Pritam Singh, also did the rounds but Rawat had an edge over them in terms of stature.
Soon after he was chosen the CLP leader, Rawat thanked Sonia Gandhi and other senior party leaders, including Indira Hridayesh and Bahuguna, for supporting him.
He said his top priority is pull the state out of the effects of catastrophic flashfloods of June, 2013.
Union Minister Harish Rawat and state minister Pritam Singh were the frontrunners for the top job in the hilly state.
The Congress top brass met today after Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna resigned from his post on Friday.
“Harish Rawat elected CLP leader, to be sworn in as new Uttrarakhand CM,” AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said after CLP meeting which decided to make Rawat as new Uttarakhand CM.
The decision to replace former Chief Minsiter Vijay Bahuguna was taken at a meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had with senior party leaders on Thursday.
Bahuguna resigned Friday after instructions from the party high command following accusations of poor rehabilitation measures taken after the June 2013 flash floods which killed thousands of people in the hill state.
Rawat who lost to Bahuguna in the race for CM in 2012 has been in pursuit of the post but the party high command had not been enthusiastic as it was felt it could intensify factionalism in the deeply-divided state unit of the party.
Incidentally, delegations of MLAs and other Congress leaders from the state had been regularly meeting central party leaders here over the past six months to press for Bahuguna`s ouster.
The Congress, with 33 members in the Assembly, enjoys the support of the seven-member Progressive Democratic Front that comprises three independents, three members of the BSP and one MLA of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal. The remaining 30 MLAs are of the BJP.
Rawat, despite leading the party to victory in 2002 Assembly Elections as the PCC chief, had to make way for ND Tiwari.
He was sidelined again in 2012, when Vijay Bahuguna became the CM. A sulking Rawat was made a Cabinet minister at the Centre later.
With PTI inputs