BJP will choose a sitting MLA as its new Chief Minister in Uttarakhand after the CM for the last four months, Tirath Singh Rawat is said to have given his resignation to BJP President JP Nadda.
The appointment of Tirath Singh Rawat, a sitting MP from the state in March, as the CM to replace Trivendra Singh Rawat, was a curious decision as there was always a remote chance for a by-poll to be held in the state as per the rules.
Rawat took oath as the CM on March 10 and had to be chosen as an MLA within six months to continue, while the term of the state assembly is scheduled to end on March 23, 2022.
As per Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, a by-poll is not held in a state if less than a year is left for the member’s term to end, which in the case of Uttarakhand is March 23, 2022.
Two by-poll vacancies did arise in Uttarakhand in April and June this year after sitting MLAs from Gangotri and Haldwani passed away but a by-poll to either of the seats was unlikely given less than a year to go for polls.
The BJP is now correcting its ‘mistake’ made with Rawat and the names of sitting MLAs and ministers like Satpal Maharaj, Banshidar Bhagat, Harak Singh Rawat and Dhan Singh Rawat are doing the rounds to be appointed as the new CM.
A leader from the Kumaon region like Bishan Chaupal and Pushkar Singh Dhami could also be a surprise choice. BJP’s state President Madan Kaushik is from Garhwal region.
The rotating CMs phenomenon has however become embarrassing for the party, given it will have had three CM’s in the last year of elections; giving out a message that all is not well within the BJP in Uttarakhand.
Former Congress CM, Harish Rawat claimed that the BJP was clueless about the state. Recent exposes like the wide-spread fake testing scam during the Kumbh have also harmed the state government’s image.
Uttarakhand had polled on February 15 in 2017 and is expected to poll again in the same month next year too.