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BJP's Pushkar Singh Dhami Named New Uttarakhand CM

A day after Uttarakhand Chief Minister's Tirath Singh Rawat's dramatic exit, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar reached the Bhartiya Janta Party's state headquarters in Dehradun for the All Party Legislative Meet.

BJP's Pushkar Singh Dhami Named New Uttarakhand CM
Pushkar Singh Dhami new Uttarakhand CM?
BJP's Pushkar Singh Dhami Named New Uttarakhand CM
outlookindia.com
2021-07-03T18:09:25+05:30

BJP MLA Pushkar Singh Dhami will be the next Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, sources told Outlook. The 45-year-old Dhami is set to be the 11th CM of Uttarakhand and also the youngest to ever become CM of the hill-state. Jharkhand is set to go to polls next year.

Dhami was elected by as the leader of the BJP state legislature party, a day after Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat's dramatic exit on Friday night,  four months after taking charge from Trivendra Singh Rawat. 

Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was at the Bhartiya Janta Party's state headquarters in Dehradun for the All Party Legislative Meet on Saturday.

Following the announcement of his elections as leader of the legislature party, Dhami thanked party leadership for reposing faith in him and said that he will deal with the challenges lying ahead with everyone's cooperation.

Dhami's election was announced by central observer Narendra Singh Tomar.

Speaking to reporters and said, "My party has appointed a common worker, son of an ex-serviceman, who was born in Pithoragarh to serve the state. We'll work together for people's welfare. We accept the challenge of serving people with the help of others, in a short time span," ANI reported.

Dhami is the two-time sitting MLA from the Khatima constituency in the Udham Singh Nagar district. He is considered by many to be on close terms with Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Maharashtra Governor and former Uttarakhand chief minister.

Rawat handed over his resignation letter to Governor Baby Rani Maurya past 11 pm after holding the post for less than four months, hours after returning from New Delhi after his meeting with BJP's top leadership.

Three months after he was sworn in as chief minister of Uttarakhand, Rawat had offered to resign from the post, triggering a constitutional crisis in the state that is set for assembly polls early next year. Rawat, sources say, had written to his party’s national president JP Nadda expressing his desire to step down. 

The resignation marked the end of months of speculation, with some politicians such as Aam Aadmi Party's Somnath Bharti, blaming Rawat's poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state as the reason for his apparent dismissal from the post.

Pushkar Singh Dhami will be the third Uttarakhand CM this year following Tirath Singh Rawat and Trivendra Singh Rawat before him.

As Dhami takes over less than a year ahead of the next assembly elections, his biggest challenge lies in leading the BJP to another victory and retaining power in Uttarakhand, where the party has been plagued by factionalism.

Changing chief ministers twice in a short span has not helped the party's image, with the the opposition Congress accusing it of causing "political instability" and betraying the people.

Dhami's name was proposed by outgoing chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat and Pradesh BJP president Madan Kaushik and seconded by a number of MLAs including former chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar who was present at the meeting as a central observer told reporters outside the state BJP headquarters here.          

No other name was proposed BJP legislature party leader, Tomar said.

Soon after his unanimous election as the BJP legislature party leader, Dhami headed for the Raj Bhawan along with a number of MLAs and the central observers to stake his claim to form the government.      

The BJP had replaced Trivendra Singh Rawat with Tirath Singh Rawat on March 10, hoping to go into the assembly polls with the new face, but he too was asked to step down as the Constitution required him to get elected as a member of the state assembly within six months of his appointment as CM and there seemed an increasing uncertainty over the Election Commission holding bypolls at this stage.

The opposition Congress, however, hit out at the BJP leadership, saying instead of ushering in development, it has thrown Uttarakhand into the throes of political instability and betrayed its people by repeatedly changing chief ministers.

Starting with Nityananad Swami, the BJP will have eight chief ministers in the state, senior Congress leader Harish Rawat said and added that in the latest four and a half years of the BJP's rule in Uttarakhand, there will be three chief ministers.

"The BJP's high drama in Dehradun is an insult to the people of Uttarakhand. The prime minister had promised to give a double-engine government, but the state only received different chief ministers and no development," Harish Rawat, a former chief minister, said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the BJP has betrayed the people and Prime Minister Modi and Nadda are responsible.

"This is BJP's example of lust for power, political instability, sharing fruits of power and failure of leadership. Instead of serving the people of Uttarakhand, they tried to distribute power, and PM Modi and JP Nadda are responsible for this. The BJP has brought Uttarakhand to such a turn where power means only sharing its fruits and nothing else," he alleged.

Ending days of speculation about a change of guard in the state, Tirat Singh Rawat on Friday handed over his resignation letter to Governor Baby Rani Maurya past 11 PM, hours after returning from Delhi where he was summoned by the top BJP leadership on Wednesday.

The names of nearly half a dozen MLAs were doing the rounds as probables for the top job, including Chaubattakhal MLA and cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj, Shrinagar MLA Dhan Singh Rawat and Khatima MLA Pushkar Singh Dhami.

Interacting with reporters at his official residence after returning from the Raj Bhawan, Tirath Singh Rawat said, "I thought it was appropriate to resign as the state was facing a constitutional crisis under the provisions of section 151 A and 164 of the Representation of People Act."

(With inputs from PTI)

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