Home Dehradun CM Tirath Singh Rawat tenders resignation following ‘constitutional hiccup’

CM Tirath Singh Rawat tenders resignation following ‘constitutional hiccup’

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Lists achievements during brief tenure

By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 2 Jul: Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat submitted his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya late, here, on Friday night, which was accepted. He will continue in the post till a replacement is named.
Earlier, sources in the party had claimed that Tirath Singh Rawat had sent his offer of resignation to BJP President JP Nadda. Also that he had also sought time from Governor Baby Rani Maurya to tender his resignation.
However, addressing a press conference at the Media Centre at the Secretariat after his return from Delhi, Rawat did not say anything about his resignation, further creating suspense about his intentions. He did not respond to any question on the subject.
Instead, he stated that the government had provided aid to those affected by Covid pandemic worth around Rs 2,000 crores and was committed to filling over 22,000 vacancies in education, higher education, animal husbandry, power sector and several other departments over the next 6 months.  He claimed that tourism and transport sectors were among the worst affected due to the Covid pandemic and that his government had been working to provide relief.
His body language however did not appear very confident. The timing of the press conference held at 10 p.m. to list mundane subjects such as his achievements was rather strange.
The CM reached Dehradun after a three day tour of Delhi where he had been summoned by the party high command to discuss the constitutional crisis. Before addressing the press, Rawat held a meeting in his office at the Secretariat with some of his Cabinet colleagues including Subodh Uniyal and Arvind Pandey, as well as senior government officers. It is certain that the drama will unfold further tomorrow.
Sources further claimed that a meeting of the BJP Legislative Party has been summoned and will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow. It is learnt that the Party MLAs have been asked to reach Dehradun at the earliest.
It was thought that, after the press conference, the CM could go to the Raj Bhawan to tender his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya but that did not happen and he drove straight home, where senior ministers and party leaders gathered for ‘discussions’.
The party top brass have nominated Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar as the party observer to oversee selection of the new Leader of the BJP Legislative Party. It may be recalled that Tirath Singh Rawat has not been able to complete even four months as CM. Sources further add that the party would this time prefer a sitting MLA as the new CM in an attempt to assuage the feelings of the people who would naturally be anguished over the political instability that has been seen in Uttarakhand over the past 21 years of its existence.
Those being named as major contenders to the post of CM of Uttarakhand include Satpal Maharaj, Dhan Singh Rawat, Pushkar Singh Dhami and Ritu Khanduri. However, a totally new name can emerge as leader of the BJP Legislative Party and this would hardly be a surprise. Some leaders have even demanded return of Trivendra Singh Rawat to the post. Though names of Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni are also doing the rounds but party insiders claimed that it is very unlikely that a non-MLA would be considered for the top post given the circumstances that only around 8 to 9 months are remaining for the next assembly elections and any non-MLA if chosen as CM would also face a similar crisis regarding election to the House. It would further make it difficult to cite the constitutional crisis as the reason behind the resignation of Tirath Singh Rawat.
Sources add that, in his letter written to BJP President JP Nadda, Rawat has cited the provisions of Section 151 of Representation of the People Act, 1951 which makes it clear that Election Commission is not bound to hold elections to any constituency if the remaining term of the constituency or the assembly is less than one year.  Usually, no resignation letter is sent to the party president by any outgoing CM. The letter seems to have been written urging the party to choose a new leader of the BJP Legislative Party given the constitutional crisis. It is pertinent to remind here that Tirath Singh Rawat had taken oath as CM on 10 March and would have completed four months as CM on 10 July.  Rawat however continues to be the Lok Sabha MP from Pauri constituency.
News agency IANS adds that Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Friday met BJP Chief JP Nadda for the second time in three days to discuss the political situation and the requirement of his election to the state Assembly before 10 September. The meeting between Nadda and Rawat lasted for nearly 30 minutes. Rawat, who had met Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah late on Wednesday night, is currently the MP from the Garhwal Lok Sabha seat, and as per the rules, needs to be sworn in as an elected MLA within six months of taking over as the Chief Minister. Currently, two assembly seats, Haldwani and Gangotri are lying vacant, but there is no clarity whether the bypolls will be held before the deadline.
Rawat in Delhi had said that holding of bypolls would be decided by the Election Commission and he would follow whatever the Central leadership of the party decides. BJP national General Secretary and Uttarakhand in-charge, Dushyant Gautam told IANS that there was no discussion on Uttarakhand by-polls held at the party level.