In Uttarakhand, the BJP’s mismanagement
Uttarakhand has its third chief minister (CM) in four years. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command first picked Trivendra Rawat in 2017. He was replaced earlier this year because of a reported backlash from the conservative religious establishment, given Mr Rawat’s position on government control of temples and caution over holding the Kumbh Mela, and internal dissent. Tirath Singh Rawat was picked next. He resigned last week, reportedly to avert a constitutional crisis. The second CM claimed that he had been unable to get elected to the assembly since bypolls were not scheduled; assembly elections are to be held early next year. Other reports, however, suggest that the party leadership acted because Tirath Rawat had been unable to manage either intra-party dynamics or governance. Some of his comments were insensitive and outlandish; and his government mismanaged the Kumbh. And so the crown has fallen on Pushkar Singh Dhami.
In Uttarakhand, the BJP was first unable to manage its own ideological constituencies and dropped a CM who had taken a sound position on the Kumbh. The party then, if the official explanation is true, did not think through the constitutional process by which Tirath Rawat would get elected. And now it has picked Mr Dhami, who does not seem to have the requisite administrative experience to manage a state that has confronted both natural disasters and a public health crisis this year. What this will mean for the BJP’s poll prospects next year is relevant, but what is more relevant is that the party has let down the state electorate with its internal mismanagement and poor political decisions.