Trivendra Singh Rawat, a leader with RSS background, has emerged as the front-runner in the race for the coveted chief minister’s post in Uttarakhand. He is likely to be elected the leader of the BJP legislature party in the hill state on Friday. The swearing-in ceremony will take place in Dehradun on Saturday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
BJP MLAs in Uttar Pradesh will also meet on Saturday to elect their leader and who will take over as the chief minister. Union minister M Venakaih Naidu and BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav will attend the legislature party meeting in Lucknow to brief the MLAs of Delhi’s choice. State BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, Union minister Rajnath Singh, and Manoj Sinha are in contention. The date for the swearing-in of the chief minister of the country’s most populous state has not been decided yet.
In Uttarakhand, Rawat faced stiff competition from former minister Prakash Pant and former MP Satpal Maharaj. Pant is MLA from Pithoragarh and Maharaj from Chaubattakal. Maharaj is a former Congress leader who joined the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections while Pant was propped up by Rawat’s rival.
“But Amit Shah’s support to Rawat seems to have tilted the balance in his favour,” a BJP source told HT.
A Thakur, Rawat is close to Shah and was one of the three deputies attached to him in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. As an RSS leader sent to the BJP, Rawat held the post of Sangathan Mantri (organisational secretary) of the Uttarakhand BJP between 1997 and 2002 and served as a minister in the BJP government in 2007.
UP chief minister hopeful Keshav Prasad Maurya was admitted to the ICU at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here after falling ill. He had fever and high blood pressure when admitted. Doctors have placed him under observation.