Vijay Bahuguna

Vijay Bahuguna quits as Uttarakhand CM

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Dehradun, Jan 31 (IANS) Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna resigned Friday. Central minister Harish Rawat is widely tipped to take charge of the hill state.

While the writing was on the wall for Bahuguna for over a week, the chief minister was told to put in his papers Thursday night, a highly placed source told IANS.

The source said the decision had the consent of both party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.

The 66-year-old chief minister told the media that he was resigning as the party “high command” had asked him to do so.

Bahuguna, party insiders said, had paid the price for the poor rehabilitation the state saw after the June 2013 flash floods and heavy rains in which thousands perished.

A Congress legislature party meeting has been called Saturday in which a new leader will be elected.

Bahuguna handed over his resignation to the governor and has been asked to continue until alternate arrangements are made.

Rawat, who was the front-runner for the chief minister’s post after the 2012 assembly elections, is expected to succeed Bahuguna.

He is known to have the backing of most Congress legislators in the state.

State minister Indira Hridyesh is also said to be one of the contenders.

The Congress is said to be facing a major challenge retaining the five Lok Sabha seats it won in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

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