New Delhi, February 1, 2014
Video: Harish Rawat sworn-in as Uttarakhand Chief Minister
Mr Harish Rawat, who was the Union Minister for Water Resources, was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand at a simple ceremony here this evening, succeeding Mr Vijay Bahuguna, who had resigned yesterday.
Mr Rawat was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Aziz Quresh at Raj Bhavan, along with all the other 11 Ministers of the Bahuguna cabinet.
Mr Rawat, 65, who represents Hardwar in the Lok Sabha, was widely expected to take over as the Chief Minister after the Congress won 32 seats in the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly in the 2012 elections and secured support from three Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs, three independents and the lone Uttarakhand Kranti Dal legislator.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended up with 31 seats in the keenly-contested elections.
But Mr Rawat lost out, apparently because of the canvassing he made for the post, and Mr Bahuguna got the job. The party finally turned to him again to salvage its image after it took a beating in the aftermath of the devastating floods of last year, which left hundreds killed and about 4000 missing.
According to various sources, the Congress leadership was unhappy with the tardy pace of rehabilitation efforts made by the state government after the floods and had asked him to hand in his papers, which he did yesterday.
The other members of Mr Rawat's cabinet are: Indira Hridiyesh, Yashpal Arya, Harak Singh Rawat, Surendra Singh Negi, Pritam Singh, Amrita Rawat, Dinesh Aggarawal, Mantri Prasad Naithani, Pritam Singh Panwar, Harish Chandra Durgapal and Surendra Rakesh.
Earlier this afternoon, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) met to choose a successor to Mr Bahuguna.
Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, who had attended the meeting as an All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer, said Mr Bahuguna moved a proposal that the CLP request Congress President Sonia Gandhi choose the new leader and also authorise her to make such a decision. The meeting passed a resolution to this effect.
Mr Dwivedi said Ms Gandhi was on a tour of Karnataka and, therefore, it took some time to establish contact with her. When they finally managed to get in touch with her, she named Mr Rawat as the person who should succeed Mr Bahuguna, he said.
The other AICC observers at the meeting were Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ms Ambika Soni.
Born on April 27, 1948 in Almora district, Mr Rawat has a B.A. and an LL.B. degree from Lucknow University.
In the early part of his political career, he held various posts in the Youth Congress, the Congress Seva Dal and as president of the National Confederation of Central Government Employees and workers.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 and re-elected in 1984 and 1989. He was the president of the Uttarakhand Sanyukta Sangharsha Samiti, which spearheaded the movement for statehood for Uttarakhand from December 1999 onwards.
He served as president of the Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee from 2001-07. He was elected in 2002 to the Rajya Sabha before returning to the Lok Sabha in 2009.
He served as Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment from May 2009 to January 2011, when he was shifted as Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries. In July 2011, he was also given additional charge of Parliamentary Affairs.
On October 28 2012, he was made Cabinet Minister for Water Resources.
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