Just months after he was sidelined for trying to oust Chief Minister BC Khanduri, BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari is back in the race for the top job in Uttarakhand.
Koshiyari, a former chief minister, is being considered as the front runner for the chief minister's post since a majority of the MLAs are backing him. Khanduri on Tuesday decided to resign owning moral responsibility for the party's recent debacle in the state where it lost all the five Lok Sabha seats to the Congress.
It is not the first time that Koshiyari, an RSS Pracharak, has emerged winner after launching a rebellion in the state BJP unit. In 2001 also, he ousted then chief minister Nityanand Swami to grab his place following a similar campaign.
BJP sources said it was just a formality that Koshiyari would be chosen as Khanduri's successor when BJP's central observers visit here tomorrow to take view of party MLAs for the choice of the new chief minister. The party's central observers are expected to meet all the 34 BJP MLAs and take the majority view.
The BJP is facing a precarious political situation in Uttarakhand where it has one member short of majority in the state Assembly having an effective strength of 68. In this backdrop, it will be a do-or-die situation for the party to win back the Kapkot Assembly seat, which was vacated by Koshiyari after he was forced to quit state politics and sent to the Rajya Sabha.
The by-elections for Kapkot are due on May 28 and the BJP can't afford to lose this crucial seat since the Congress is keeping a close watch on political upheavals in the ruling BJP in the hill state.
Significantly, Khanduri suggested the name of Health Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank as his successor and opposed Koshiyari.
But sources said it was very unlikely that the high command would give importance to Khanduri's advice.
Koshiyari had also opposed Khanduri when he became the chief minister in 2007 on the ground that the leader having overwhelming support of the MLAs should be given top priority.