Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday took oath as the 11th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand at Raj Bhawan, a day after he was elected as the leader of the BJP legislature party.
Governor Baby Rani Maurya administered the oath to Dhami, the two-time MLA from the Kumaon region (Khatima constituency), who announced his name for the office in a meeting held at the BJP headquarters on Saturday.
Dhami is taking over the top post ahead of the state assembly elections due next year.
BJP MLAs Satpal Maharaj, Harak Singh Rawat, Bansidhar Bhagat, and Yashpal Arya also took oath as ministers in the new state cabinet. Other MLAs Bishan Singh Chuphal, Subodh Uniyal, Arvind Pandey, Ganesh Joshi, Dhan Singh Rawat, Rekha Arya and Yatishwaranand were sworn in too.
After his oath, Dhami told ANI that he will focus on managing the pandemic. “I have been working among youngsters & I understand the issues very well. COVID has impacted their livelihood. We will try to make the situation better for them & will try to appoint youngsters for the vacant posts in the state," he said.
“I will try my best to meet the expectations of the party, which has chosen me to serve the people of Uttarakhand," he added.
Dhami has twice been the president of the BJP youth wing in the hill state as he served as the state chief of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha from 2002 to 2006. Dhami is considered close to Bhagat Singh Koshyari, a former chief minister and currently the Governor of Maharashtra and Goa.
The 45-year-old leader’s image has been that of an undisputed leader. However, it is not going to be easy for Dhami to carry out the role of CM in Uttarakhand, having to adjust with the senior MLAs as well as the bureaucracy. His lack of experience in heading a government may also prove to be a roadblock.
Sources have earlier told News18 that there would be no change in the state cabinet. They also said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had spoken to senior ministers unhappy with Dhami’s election.
Sources in the party told News18 that Satpal Maharaj, Madan Kaushik, Subodh Uniyal, Harak Singh Rawat, Bishan Singh Chuphal and Yashpal Arya are among those who have expressed their reservations with Dhami to the party high command.
Wishes Pour In
Meanwhile, wishes poured in for Dhami from senior BJP leaders, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Congratulations to Shri @pushkardhami and all others who took oath today. Best wishes to this team as they work towards the progress and prosperity of Uttarakhand."
Congratulations to Shri @pushkardhami and all others who took oath today. Best wishes to this team as they work towards the progress and prosperity of Uttarakhand.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 4, 2021
Heartiest congratulations to Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami ji on being sworn in as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. I am confident that the State will scale new heights of development under your leadership.@pushkardhami— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) July 4, 2021
उत्तराखंड के मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में शपथ लेने पर श्री पुष्कर सिंह धामी को हार्दिक बधाई। युवा एवं बेहद ऊर्जावान धामीजी के नेतृत्व में प्रदेश विकास और सुशासन के पथ पर आगे बढ़ेगा, ऐसा मेरा विश्वास है। मैं उन्हें उनके सफल कार्यकाल की शुभकामनाएँ देता हूँ।— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 4, 2021
Rajnath Singh wrote that he believes Uttarakhand will move forward on the path of development and good governance under the leadership of young and very energetic Dhamiji.
श्री @pushkardhami जी को उत्तराखंड के मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में शपथ लेने पर हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं।मुझे विश्वास है कि प्रधानमंत्री @narendramodi जी के नेतृत्व में आप पूरी निष्ठा व समर्पण भाव से देवभूमि उत्तराखंड की विकास यात्रा और जनकल्याण के कार्यों को नई ऊर्जा व गति प्रदान करेंगे।
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) July 4, 2021
Dhami’s predecessor Tirath Singh Rawat also extended his wishes, saying he is confident that under his leadership, the state will establish new dimensions of development and good governance.
Dhami Holds Cabinet Meeting
Soon after being sworn in as the new chief minister, Dhami held the first meeting of his cabinet at the secretariat.
“Very important decisions in the interest of the state’s youth and the unemployed were taken at the cabinet meeting," Cabinet minister Subodh Uniyal told reporters after the meeting.
Important decisions were also taken about the immediate needs of the state, he added. However, a detailed briefing on the cabinet meeting will be held on Monday, official sources said.
(With PTI inputs)