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Uttarakhand: Rawat Ministry Resigns, New CM on Wednesday

Uttarakhand: Rawat Ministry Resigns, New CM on Wednesday

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Mar 9: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat heading a BJP ministry submitted the resignation of his council of ministers with just about a year to go before the state go to the polls.

The BJP legislature party is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to elect his successor.

Rawat ministry bowed out of office amidst rising dissatisfaction among the party MLAs with the hill unit of the RSS also finding his style of functioning detrimental to the prospects of the BJP in the coming elections. Amidst persistent complaints from a section of the party legislators, Rawat was summoned to Delhi on Monday where among other leaders he met the union home minister Amit Shah, the party’s national president J P Nadda who issued him the marching orders.

On his return to Dehradun on Tuesday, Rawat called on the governor Baby Rani Maurya and submitted the resignation of his council of ministers.

The crisis over Rawat’s continuance arose after the national leadership of the party dispatched two central observers to the State after consistent complaints on his style of functioning within the party and reported declining popularity in the State.

The central observers — former Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Rajya Sabha MP and party general secretary in-charge of Uttarakhand, Dushyant Gautam — reportedly underlined serious shortcomings in Rawat’s handling of party and the government.

The BJP sources in Uttarakhand said some MLAs and factions in the party had conveyed their dissatisfaction with the functioning of Rawat’s government to the central leadership and the RSS. Senior MLAs have also been demanding the expansion of the State Cabinet where three berths have been lying vacant for two years.

“There is unrest among a major section of party functionaries and MLAs. They are complaining that officers in districts are not paying heed to their recommendations. They are feeling ignored. In this situation, winning the next Assembly election could be a challenge,” an RSS functionary said.

Singh and Gautam will attend the Wednesday’s legislature party meeting as the central party observers for the election of the next chief minister.

Among the frontrunners for the top post included the state education minister Dhan Singh Rawat, and Lok Sabha MPs Ajay Bhatt and Anil Baluni. The Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, a former CM of the northern state, is also believed to be one of the serious contenders for the post.

Addressing a press conference after resigning, Rawat said it was a collective decision by the BJP that someone else should get a chance to serve as the next CM of Uttarakhand. “Serving the state for four years was a golden opportunity for me which the party gave me. Extremely thankful to the party for giving the opportunity to a man hailing from a small village,” he added.

In the 2017 assembly elections, the BJP came to power winning 57 seats in the 69-member assembly. The Congress, on the other hand, won just 11 seats. While the BJP increased its tally from 31 in 2012, the Congress’ went down from 32.

 

 

 

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