Resigned due to constitutional crisis, says Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat
Chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Friday tendered his resignation to governor Baby Rani Maurya, a little less than four months after he was sworn-in. Rawat, who had refused to respond to questions about his resignation before he went to Raj Bhavan, later explained his decision to resign to what he described as a constitutional crisis.
The Election Commission, he said, had decided not to hold a by-election due to the Covid pandemic and it was decided that he should resign. Rawat added that he could not contest the bypoll to the Almorah’s Sult seat in April since he had tested Covid positive.
“I must express my gratitude to the party’s central leadership which has given many responsibilities from time to time. I have been MLC, MLA, MP, party state president and recently chief minister. I thank my party president JP Nadda, home minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister from the core of my heart,” said Rawat, who had just an hour before meeting governor Baby Rani Maurya, refused to respond to swirling rumours of his exit.
There has been no statement from the poll panel to indicate if it has taken any decision. People aware of the details said the EC had not received any request from Uttarakhand to hold a by-election on grounds that it was necessary to fulfil constitutional requirements.
Uttarakhand BJP chief Madan Kaushik said the party legislative party will meet at 3pm on Saturday to decide on the new leader. This time, he said, “the new leader will be an MLA”.
Uttarakhand BJP spokesperson Manvir Singh Chauhan said Union minister and party veteran Narendra Singh Tomar will be the central observer at the MLA meet. “We have been told to come for the urgent legislative party meeting,” a BJP MLA said.
The BJP has 56 MLAs in the 70-member house.
Tirath Singh Rawat’s successor to be named on Saturday will be the Bharatiya Janata Party’s third chief minister since 2017 when the BJP delivered a stunning performance winning 57 seats in the 70-member assembly. Trivendra Singh Rawat, who became chief minister, was ejected from the seat in March when he was days short of completing four years in office.
But this is not the first time that the state has seen a change within a five year term of the government. In 2007, BC Khanduri was elected as chief minister and continued in the seat for 2 years and 111 days; he was replaced by Ramesh Pokhariyal who also stayed in office for 2 years and 75 days between 2009 and 2011. In September 2011, Khanduri made a comeback and served another 184 days in the top job.
The only Uttarakhand chief minister to complete the five-year-term is its first chief minister, ND Tiwari.