Pushkar Singh Dhami was today elected as the 11th Chief Minister of the state by the Uttarakhand BJP Legislative Party. The change of guard came a day after Tirat Singh Rawat resigned amid a fight and fading prospects for being elected to the state assembly by September 10.
The name of Mr Dhami, who is considered close to Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, was announced after a meeting of five BJP MLAs from Uttarakhand at the party headquarters in the capital Dehradun. The 45-year-old is a two-time MLA representing the Khatima constituency in the Kumaon region of the state. He was the special duty officer of former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Bhagat Singh Koshiari
Uttarakhand is up for assembly elections in less than a year.
Apart from the MLAs, BJP’s Central Observer Narendra Singh Tomar and its state in-charge Dushayant Kumar Gautam, who arrived in the capital Dehradun around noon, were also present at today’s meeting. Prior to the meeting, Mr. Tomar himself held discussions with several state leaders, including Mr. Rawat.
According to a PTI report, the names of about half-a-dozen MLAs have acted as potential candidates for the top posts, in addition to Satal Maharaj, Dhan Singh Rawat and Mr Dhami. Some of the party’s leaders also recommended former chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, the report said.
Trithendra Singh Rawat was sworn in as the then Chief Minister by an MP in March after a sharp disagreement against him. To retain the post, Mr Rawat had to win an assembly seat by September 10.
Having a bye-poll in the Kovid epidemic seems likely to be a growing distance, though, especially given that assembly elections will be held in less than a year. Moreover, the Election Commission recently found itself in the middle of a main row, focusing on the March-April elections in five states, along with the rising transmission rate in the second wave.
“There is a constitutional crisis in Uttarakhand as there is less than a year to go for the next elections. Will the Election Commission allow this by-election? Although there is a mandate to hold elections, there have been cases where permission has been denied,” said former chief minister Trivendra Singh. Rawat told NDTV.
“The Election Commission has stated in writing that elections could not be held in a few states amid the Kovid epidemic,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tritha Singh Rawat, who has been in Delhi for the past three days in a row with the BJP’s top leadership, was asked to resign yesterday afternoon. Shortly afterwards, he sought an appointment with Governor Baby Rani Maurya, but before that he resigned as party chief JP Nadda.
“Given the constitutional crisis, I feel it is right to resign. By-elections cannot be held because of Covid-19,” he said in a brief statement yesterday.
His 114-day keynote speech has become controversial. The BJP leaders in Uttarakhand complained to the Delhi leadership of public outrage over some of his remarks, one of which was against ripped jeans. Mr Rawat even embarrassed his party by criticizing the policy decisions of his predecessor.
The Aquarius Fair at the top of the Covid Spike sparked a backlash from his management and the comment “no RT-PCR test was needed”.