Dr Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank took oath as the fifteenth chief minister of Uttarakhand on Saturday afternoon with Governor BL Joshi swearing in three cabinet ministers as well.
The three members of Nishank Cabinet include Bishen Singh Chauphal, Matbar Singh Kandari and Madan Kaushik, who were earlier a part of the cabinet of Nishank’s predecessor BC Khanduri. They represent the three regions of the state.
Chauphal is from Didihat in Kumaon, Kandari is from Rudraprayag in Garhwal and Kaushik is from Hardwar in Terai region of the state.
According to sources, the cabinet will be expanded over the next week.
It was being expected that one of the new cabinet ministers would be Prakash Pant who was also in the race for the post of the Chief Minister when Khanduri’s resignation was announced. His absence from the list came as a surprise. Sources say that there is a move afoot to make Pant the speaker in place of Harbans Kapoor and bring the latter into the cabinet.
Amongst the senior BJP leaders who participated in the oath taking ceremony were BJP’s national President Rajnath Singh along with Murli Manohar Joshi, Ram Lal and Vijay Goel.
Talking to the media persons Rajnath Singh said, “I am confident that the new government under Nishank will be a stable one and will work for the development of the state and its people.”
Nishank was the health minister in Khanduri’s cabinet and was a close confidant of the latter. He had been instrumental in averting Khanduri’s ouster from the office of the Chief Minister at least on three occasions when dissidence had raised its head in the state. His nomination for the post of the Chief Minister had the backing of Khanduri when the legislative party had met in Delhi to choose Khanduri’s successor.