'Never a part of CM race': Trivendra Singh Rawat says as his name does the round
Ahead of the BJP's legislature party meeting to choose the new chief minister of Uttarakhand after Tirath Singh Rawat's resignation, senior leader Trivendra Singh Rawat on Saturday put the ball in the party leadership's court. "Neither was I part of the race earlier, nor today. The legislative party leader will be elected at the meeting today," Trivendra Singh Rawat, a former chief minister, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Tirath Singh Rawat stepped down late on Friday just four months after he was given the post by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He took over the charge from Trivendra Singh Rawat who was Uttarakhand's CM from March 2017 but had to leave the role as BJP sought his exit.
Several MLAs were said to be unhappy with Trivendra Singh Rawat, who allegedly kept many of his cabinet member colleagues out of the decision-making process, BJP leaders told HT. The discontent was developing and things gathered pace in February. Earlier this year, 13 legislators wrote to the BJP’s central leadership against Trivendra Singh Rawat’s work style, accusing him of not listening to them.
And, his successor Tirath Singh Rawat’s resignation ended a controversial stint that was supposed to help the party revive its popularity in the state. Tirath Singh Rawat drew flak for allowing the Mahakumbh as Covid-19 cases were on the rise and also because of large-scale fraud in testing during the mega fair.
On Friday night, 57-year-old Rawat resigned citing that Election Commission (EC) was unlikely to hold by-elections due to Covid-19. But an EC official indicated that no request was made to hold a by-poll and suggested there were precedents that may have permitted it. A chief minister, if not a member of the assembly, needs to be elected within six months of assuming the post. The EC does not typically hold by-polls to vacant constituencies when an assembly’s remaining term is less than a year.
The BJP is set to hold its legislature party meeting to be chaired by state unit president Madan Kaushik on Saturday to name a new leader and all its MLAs have been asked to attend it.
Assembly elections are due in the state in March-April next year. The BJP has 56 members in the 70-member House, while the Congress has 11.