In a surprising move, the Bharatiya Janata Party has announced that BJP MP Tirath Singh Rawat will be sworn in as the new Uttarakhand Chief Minister. According to reports, Tirath will be sworn in at 4 pm at Raj Bhawan today.
Tirath will take over the post of Chief Minister after Trivendra Rawat resigned on Tuesday. At a BJP legislative party meeting earlier today, it was decided that Tirath will become the CM.
“I thank the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the party chief who trusted me, a mere party worker coming from a small village. I have never imagined that I would reach here,” Tirath said at a press briefing where the BJP announced he would take over as CM. “We'll make all efforts to meet people's expectations and take forward work done in last 4 years.”
Tirath is an MP from Pauri Garhwal. Many are surprised that an MP has been made the Chief Minister of a state, however, it is not the first such instance. Yogi Adityanath became the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister while serving as the MP of Gorakhpur.
With Tirath Singh Rawat taking over as the new Chief Minister of the state, one might wonder what made former CM Trivendra Rawat quit before his term ended.
In the past months leading up to his resignation, Trivendra Rawat has been going through a rough patch. He tendered his resignation to Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya a year before his term as Chief Minister comes to an end.
One of the major reasons behind Trivendra’s resignation as CM was the growing discontent among MLAs and leaders in the BJP Uttarakhand unit. Trivendra is known to be a close confidant of Home Minister Amit Shah and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and is said to have no other allies.
According to reports, certain leaders within the state unit feel that the party does not have a bright future under Trivendra’s leadership. Having no friends in the party and losing popularity led to many BJP leaders urging the central leadership to change the Chief Minister.
Reportedly, Trivendra is not in the good books of the BJP leadership, the BJP parental organization – the RSS and also VHP for taking certain decisions. Trivendra’s decision to pass the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019. According to this act, the state government controls nearly 51 shrines. This move angered the RSS and VHP and they made it clear that the government should have a limited role in the management of the shrine. Many in the RSS and VHP approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding this move and have publicly protested against Trivendra.
Trivendra has also faced flak over the 2021 Uttarakhand flash floods. Nearly 70 people lost their lives in the flash floods. According to reports, an early survey of the damage caused revealed that Uttarakhand’s Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower plant has been “completely washed off.” The 520 MW Tapovan hydro-electric project was constructed at a cost of nearly Rs 3,000 crore.
To make matters worse for the Trivendra, the Supreme Court of India is scheduled to hear a case of alleged corruption against the former Uttarakhand Chief Minister. Last year the SC stayed the CBI probe against Rawat in the 2016 corruption case. Reportedly, when Rawat was BJP’s Jharkhand in-charge, he had got money transferred into accounts of relatives to back the appointment of a person in Jharkhand to head the Gau Seva Ayog. This was exposed by Uttarakhand-based journalist Umesh Kumar Sharma.
However, according to Congress leader Devendra Yadav, Trivendra had to resign due to the corruption charges. Yadav alleged that the entire government was indulging in corruption and therefore the BJP leadership decided to have a change in guard.
Since the state of Uttarakhand was formed in 2000, only former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister ND Tiwari managed to complete his term as Uttarakhand CM. No BJP Chief Minister could complete their term. There have been reports that when Trivendra was the Chief Minister factionalism was intensified with the BJP state unit.