The capital’s Defence Colony, where Uttarakhand’s newly designated chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat stays, was abuzz with activities on Friday, and its residents basked in the limelight.
Since 8am, Rawat’s house was packed with supporters and the road leading to it was chock-a-block with crowds and vehicles. Though police tried to manage the crowd and ensure adequate parking, the management went haywire in the face of the excitement of supporters and party leaders.
With tents and stalls installed for water and refreshment, Rawat’s residence looked almost ready for the grand announcement that came a few hours later. MLAs and central leaders went in for a closed-door meeting to finalise the new CM in the afternoon. More than 50 supporters gathered at Rawat’s residence to celebrate his victory in advance.
Lansdowne MLA Dilip Singh Rawat, first-time MLA from Deoprayag Vinod Kandari, Meena Gangola (Gangotri), and Deshraj Karanwal (Jhabreda) were among a few legislators who reached Rawat’s residence in the morning. They also accompanied him to the Parade Ground where the swearing-in ceremony will take place on Saturday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Rawat ji is young and a dedicated party leader. It wasn’t a surprise that the party high command has chosen him over other leaders. We know he will give new wings of development to this state,” said Sheetal, a BJP supporter.
The humming of several MLAs around Rawat was an indication of the hectic lobbying for 11 cabinet portfolios. “He is no doubt a potential leader of the state and understands the issues of hills,” Dilip Singh Rawat told Hindustan Times.
Bureaucrats made courtesy calls to Rawat days before he was picked as the new CM. BJP sources claimed that many IAS officers, including additional chief secretary Ranbir Singh, had met him to convey greetings in advance.
Rawat left his residence at 10.30am and went straight to Parade Ground for monitoring swearing-in arrangements. After being encircled by media persons and supporters, he left the place without even stepping out of his car.
He then went to the hotel where the party leaders’ meeting was scheduled. Looking confident and calm, Rawat interacted with media with caution before the meeting started.