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Wednesday, October 17, 2001

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Process of changing Uttaranchal CM starts

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, OCT. 16. The Bharatiya Janata Party has begun thinking about replacing the Uttaranchal Chief Minister, Mr. Nityanand Swamy, after coming to the conclusion that its electoral prospects in the State will be bleak under his leadership.

Till recently, Mr. Kushabhau Thakre, in-charge of political affairs in the State, was saying that he did not favour change of Chief Ministership when State Assembly elections were round the corner (they are due in March 2002). But he had more than hinted that if the party were to win the elections, Mr. Swamy was not likely to be favoured as the next Chief Minister.

But now the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, seems to have decided to effect the change before the elections, for reports have suggested that the party can only lose if Mr. Swamy continues to head the interim State Government. The net result was that Mr. Swamy was summoned urgently to New Delhi. Mr. Swamy met Mr. Vajpayee yesterday and he met him again today. Party sources indicated that while the Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani, was present at yesterday's meeting, Mr. Thakre participated in the deliberations today. Besides, Mr. Swamy also met Mr. Thakre this morning at the party office.

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