After Trivendra Singh Rawat's resignation, Uttarakhand political developments in 10 points
Trivendra Singh Rawat’s resignation as the Uttarakhand chief minister on Tuesday has brought to light the possible inner-party angst and rebellion against him in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Rawat, who became the CM after the BJP swept the assembly elections in early 2017, tendered his resignation after meeting governor Baby Rani Maurya. The party’s move comes a year ahead of assembly elections in the state.
There’s also buzz about the likely contenders for the new CM face in Uttarakhand. While the state’s education minister and close aide of Rawat, Dhan Singh Rawat is said to be leading the race, the two other possible names for the post include Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni and Lok Sabha member from Nainital-US Nagar, Ajay Bhatt.
Here are the key developments about the situation in Uttarakhand
- Several MLAs were unhappy with Rawat who allegedly kept many of his cabinet member colleagues out of the decision-making process, several persons from different levels of the party told HT. The discontent had been developing since, but things gathered pace in February.
- Rawat’s exit was apparently triggered after a meeting between some Uttarakhand lawmakers and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, who was once the chief minister of the state. The lawmakers told Koshiyari how the CM did not involve his cabinet colleagues, or party MLAs or even the state's MPs, according to a person familiar with the development.
- Thirteen legislators have, in the past few days, written to BJP’s central leadership against Rawat’s work style, accusing him of not listening to them.
- After quitting, Rawat said that it was a collective decision by the party to give someone else a chance to be the Uttarakhand CM. "Serving the state for four years was a golden opportunity for me which the party gave me. Extremely thankful to the party for giving the opportunity to a man hailing from a small village," he said.
- Rawat announced that a legislative party meeting would take place at 10am on Wednesday after which which his successor would be announced.
- A top state official told HT that Rawat would not allow any political interference in transfers. "If any minister or MLA recommended someone for a post, he would never listen to them. He was very strict,'' he added.
- The hard task-master was a good role model but political workers of the state say that Rawat refused to share power and kept all the important portfolios for himself. According to the government website, he held 60 odd portfolios and the cabinet expansion that was expected never took place.
- Dushyant Kumar Gautam who is in charge of the state and was sent to sort out the rebellion, however, said that BJP wants to use Rawat’s expertise at a larger, national level. "We felt that he should be moved to the national level,'' he said.
- A senior party functionary said that Rawat’s appointment to the CM post was seen as a Centre’s decision. He did not have the support of a majority of the party, he said, adding what made the friction between him and the state unit worse was his style of functioning, his frequent visits to the capital and the move to set up a new division in Gairsain, the summer capital of Uttarakhand.
- It may be noted that except Congress' Narayan Dutt Tiwari, who became the chief minister in 2002, no chief minister has so far completed his five-year tenure in Uttarakhand. Professor MM Semwal, a political analyst from Garhwal University, said this jinx has been always talked about in state politics. “But from a logical point of view, I don’t think we can link political developments to such superstitions. All these major political changes in the state over the years have political reasons. One house cannot affect or bring such changes,” he said.