Trivendra Singh Rawat steps down as Uttarakhand CM

Madan Kaushik and Dhan Singh Rawat, have now emerged as a frontrunner for the post.

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After days of speculation over the Uttarakhand Chief Minister’s future amid rumblings among state leaders over his “style of functioning”, Trivendra Singh Rawat today tendered his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya in Dehradun. This comes a day after Rawat met senior leaders in Delhi, including party president JP Nadda, and Rajya Sabha MP and BJP’s national media in charge Anil Baluni.

Before the resignation, Rawat was closeted with close associates, including ministers Madan Kaushik and Dhan Singh Rawat, who has now emerged as a frontrunner for the post.

Incidentally, Baluni is another name on the long list of probables that includes Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, state Cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj, Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar MP Ajay Bhat and general secretary of state BJP Suresh Bhat. There is also talk about a Deputy CM “to assuage all sections and regions” of the state that goes to the polls next year.

While sources said “a name acceptable to all, with elections slated next year, has already been decided”, BJP general secretary in charge of Uttarakhand Dushyant Gautam insisted the decision would be taken at a meeting of legislators tomorrow. He said Rawat “will be given a big responsibility at the Centre”.

Addressing mediapersons after the resignation, the outgoing CM thanked the BJP leadership for giving him the opportunity to serve the state. Regarding the resignation, he said all decisions are taken in a “collective manner” in the BJP.

While this is not the first time PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have removed a CM of a BJP-ruled state before the elections — Anandiben Patel was replaced by Vijay Rupani in Gujarat — the situation in Uttarakhand is said to be “more serious”. The change has certainly given an opportunity to adversaries, especially the Congress, to strike back with a reminder of the times “BJP engineered trouble” for the Harish Rawat government. Sources said Shah, Nadda and national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh discussed the political situation and all possibilities with party observers — vice-president Raman Singh and Gautam.

Apart from “serious discontent” amid BJP MLAs and MPs and objections regarding Rawat’s “style of functioning and allowing bureaucracy to become more powerful peoples’ representatives,” it is learnt an observers’ report also mentioned it will be difficult for the BJP to win next year with Rawat as the face. Seemingly, the Sangh parivaar too was upset with over some of the decisions of the government. Some Congress imports were also threatening to jump ship ahead of Assembly elections next year, spelling trouble for the ruling party amid “increasing influence” of the Aam Aadmi Party in the state.

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