Dehradun: Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Sunday resigned as Uttarakhand Chief Minister paving the way for B C Khanduri to take over the top post.
Nishank, along with some party leaders, went to Raj Bhavan and handed over his resignation to Governor Margaret Alva, Raj Bhavan sources said here.

Seeking to salvage its sagging image in poll-bound Uttarakhand, BJP had on Saturday announced that 76-year-old Khanduri, a former Chief Minister of the state, would replace Nishank.

Nishank said after submitting his resignation, "I'm a party worker. I will do whatever the party wants me to do..."   

After two long rounds of talks with Nishank in Delhi, the BJP top brass had convinced him to step down from the post in the wake of a series of alleged scams against his government.

"Keeping in view the forthcoming elections in Uttarakhand, BJP has decided for a change in leadership. Khanduri will be the new chief minister of the state," party president Nitin Gadkari had told reporters yesterday after the
four-hour meeting.

"It was conveyed to Nishank that the party wants a change in leadership in view of the elections. There have been some allegations in the media that there are cases of corruption against him. The party wants to make it clear that there are no charges against him," Gadkari had said.

He had underlined that the only reason for the change was the forthcoming polls.

Sources said though the decision to remove Khanduri had been taken at the Parliamentary Board meeting of the party last Friday, the BJP top brass did not want to ruffle any feather by sacking 54-year-old Nishank unceremoniously.

Gadkari had insisted that even after Nishank quits his post, he will be given "due respect" in the organisation and will play an important role in BJP's election campaign in the state.

"I am grateful to Nishank that when the decision to go for a change of leadership was conveyed to him, he accepted it with grace in the best interests of the party," Gadkari said.

This will be Khanduri's second term as Chief Minister. Elections to the 70-member Assembly in Uttarakhand were held in early 2007. He was made the Chief Minister after the polls but had to go in June 2009 when his bete noire Bhagat Singh Koshiyari rebelled against him and claimed to have the support of a majority of party MLAs.

(Agencies)