India's Congress party sees spat over Uttarakhand chief

Vijay Bahuguna is sworn in as new chief minister of Uttarakhand
Image caption Many Congress legislators stayed away from the swearing in ceremony

Vijay Bahuguna has been sworn in as the new Congress chief minister of Uttarakhand state despite a rebellion by a party rival.

Harish Rawat, a federal minister in the federal government has offered to resign because of the decision to overlook him as the state's leader.

Mr Rawat boycotted the ceremony along with many of his supporters.

Mr Bahuguna was sworn in alone and the other members of his government will be decided at a later date.

Only 12 Congress legislators out of 32 attended the ceremony, a sign that many stayed away in support of Mr Rawat.

The party fell short of a majority in recent state elections but says it can form a government in Uttarakhand.

Congress won 32 of Uttarakhand's 70 seats but has the support of three independent legislators and a member of the regional Uttarakhand Kranti Dal party.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party got 31 seats.

Voting was held in the state on 30 January and results were declared on 6 March.

New party?

Mr Rawat, who is a minister of state for agriculture and parliamentary affairs in the federal government, sent a letter resigning from his cabinet post to Sonia Gandhi on Monday, Congress party spokesman Surendra Agarwal in Uttarakhand told the BBC.

Mr Bahuguna was named to the post after Mrs Gandhi and other party leaders considered the demands of the independent members of Uttarakhand's legislative assembly whose support was necessary to form a government.

Although Mr Rawat is not leaving the party, he could form a "new party if it is required", Congress spokesman Mr Agarwal added.

The Uttarakhand elections were held as part of assembly polls in four other states.

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