Amid speculations of change in leadership, Uttarakhand CM leaves for Delhi
- BJP leaders said that the CM left for Delhi with a few party MLAs and would apprise the central leadership of the political situation in the state
Amid the speculations related to change in the leadership of the Uttarakhand government following a sudden core committee meeting of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday, the political temperature in the state again soared high after chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat left for Delhi to meet the party's central leadership on Monday morning.
Rawat had to attend a few programmes on Monday on the occasion of Women's Day, including one in the summer capital of Gairsain but they had to be cancelled due to his Delhi visit. In the national capital, the CM is expected to meet national BJP president JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah.
BJP leaders said that the CM left for Delhi with a few party MLAs loyal to him and would apprise the central leadership of the political situation in the state. They refrained from commenting whether he would be replaced although speculation was rife in the state capital about his possible replacement in the next few days.
Earlier on Saturday, after the sudden core committee meeting presided by state unit observers including former Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and state unit in-charge Dushyant Kumar Gautam, party state president Bansidhar Bhagat tried to douse the speculations of leadership change by saying that the meeting was to discuss the events for the completion of four years of BJP government ahead of the 2022 assembly elections. However, after Monday's development, the buzz around changing the CM again gained momentum.
According to a senior party official who didn't wish to be named, "the CM left for Delhi in the morning at around 11.30 where he would meet party national president JP Nadda and home minister Amit Shah. He is accompanied by a Cabinet minister and a party MLA who are considered to be his close aides."
He said, "His visit is significant considering the fact that the central leadership is likely to decide on the change of the CM in the next few days. The two observers who chaired the meeting had submitted the report to the national leadership who will now take the decision."
However, amid the speculations, the CM, while talking to media before leaving for Delhi, said all the buzz has been created by the media.
"It has all been created by media. I am going to Delhi to meet the central leadership after getting their time for the same," said Rawat.
Meanwhile, with sudden developments in the BJP state unit, most of the party leaders are tight-lipped, refraining to speak on the issue.
However, a senior party office-bearer in the state said, "There are chances that the CM may be changed in the next few days with former CM and present Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj among the front runners for the position."
On Saturday's core group meeting, Nishank had also come down to Dehradun where he met Raman Singh at the capital's Jolly Grant airport.
"Nishank's close aides have started saying that he is soon going to be the chief minister. Meanwhile, Maharaj is also believed to be vying for the chief ministership for which he had met several national leaders in the past few months as his equations with CM Rawat are not good, a fact which is known to all," said the leader.
He added, "Even if the two aforesaid leaders are the frontrunners, the party is in a fix because to balance the caste equation in the state leadership. The state president Bansidhar Bhagat is a Brahmin and CM Rawat is a Rajput. Hence, a new CM would also have to be a Rajput because both party state president and CM cannot be Brahmins."
With the "All is not well" situation in the state BJP, there are also reports that the CM could try to douse the fire by making the appointments on the three vacant ministerial positions in the state government by accomodating senior party MLA Vishan Singh Chufal who reportedly wrote a letter to the national leadership along with 13 other party MLAs demanding the CM to be removed citing their unhappiness with "CM's style of working."
"It is possible that to control the damage, CM Rawat could make the appointments by accomodating Chufal and another MLA from Kumaon region Balwant Singh Bhauriyal. The remaining one position could be filled by Vikasnagar MLA and CM's close aide Munna Singh Chauhan," said a party leader privy to the developments.
Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress attacked the BJP for creating a political uncertainty in the state in "hunger for power among its leaders."
Former chief minister and Congress national general secretary Harish Rawat said, "What is happening in the BJP right now is a deplorable game of power for which they are ready to push the state in a state of crisis leaving the people to suffer."
Rawat said, "BJP is reaping what it sowed during my previous government in which it took away three senior leaders from Congress by wrongful means and made them ministers in their current government. Now that move is biting them back."
The BJP, however, denied the speculations about any leadership change even on Monday with party state president Bhagat saying, "CM Rawat would discuss the events on March 18 to mark the completion of four years of this government and the election strategy for upcoming state assembly elections to be held in 2022."
If CM Rawat is replaced, he would join the league of former chief ministers in the previous governments in the state who failed to complete their full tenure of five years except for the first CM of the state ND Tiwari in then Congress government who succeeded in completing the full term.