National

BJP in a bind over CM’s position in Uttarakhand

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 02, 2021

Tirath Singh Rawat, Uttarakhand Chief Minister

Tirath Singh Rawat may have to step down as CM and has reportedly sought a meeting with the Governor

Tirath Singh Rawat may join the long list of Chief Ministers in Uttarakhand who were not able to complete their tenure in the State’s highest office. Rawat is believed to have sought a meeting with Governor Baby Rani Maurya after a series of high-level meetings at the BJP’s central headquarters in Delhi.

The by-election for CM in Uttarakhand is being likened to the situation in West Bengal where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was defeated in Nandigram by Suvendu Adhikari. Banerjee too has to seek re-election in a by-poll amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Rawat was a Lok Sabha MP from Pauri Garhwal who took oath as Uttarakhand CM in March. He had to be elected to the State Assembly within six months of swearing in as CM. By September, Rawat had to be elected to the Assembly.

If Rawat’s by-election was to be held in Uttarakhand, the BJP could not have raised objections to another by-poll in Bengal too. The Trinamool Congress, in the meantime, has also sought to re-create the Upper House in Bengal which had been abolished several decades back by the Left government.

Options

Rawat was summoned to the Capital earlier this week along with some MLAs and the party considered various options including selecting an alternative CM as also the possibility of him contesting a by-poll either from Gangotri or Haldwani, both of which are lying vacant after the death of sitting MLAs.

However, the spectacle of a by-election to elect a Chief Minister just six months before the general Assembly polls is matched only by Rawat’s spectacularly abysmal innings as CM marked by holding the Kumbh in Haridwar which acted as a super-spreader event in the deadly second surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Opposition parties, on their part, seem to be preparing for Rawat’s candidature from Gangotri. The Aam Aadmi Party has announced the candidature of Colonel (retd) Ajay Kothiyal was the party’s candidate from Gangotri which has been lying vacant since the death of BJP MLA Gopal Singh Rawat.

Ever since Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in November, 2000, only one Chief Minister – ND Tiwari of the Congress – has completed his five-year term in office. All the rest have been forced to vacate office before time.

Published on July 02, 2021

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