Tirath Singh Rawat, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand has resigned. The resignation comes after Mr. Rawat was holding meetings with the top cadre of the Bharatiya Janata Party over a by-poll election. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the bypoll is not probable.
Hence, the Bharatiya Janata Party will elect a new candidate for the position. The new candidate will be the third chief minister elected in a row.
Uttarakhand has a complicated history of political jeopardy, previously the Kotdwar constituency was lost by BJP member BC Khanduri in 2012 and Congress failed to mark a nail when Harish Rawat was defeated from both Kiccha and Haridwar seats in 2017.
This marks the election of the third candidate for the position of chief minister of the state. As charges of mismanagement were leveled against Trivendra Singh Rawat, the people of Uttarakhand expressed concerns over the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, lack of developmental projects, and unemployment.
The state leaders experience distress as the instability can adversely affect the assembly elections. The former Chief Minister of the state Harish Rawat commented stating that Mr. Rawat resigned due to constitutional compulsions calling the statement of bypoll postponement as propaganda.
This marked the end of his four-month governance as a chief minister. He said the by-polls will not be held given the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, he has resigned from the position, keeping the constitutional laws in mind.
Tirath Singh Rawat was urgently summoned to the national capital by leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, JP Nadda, and Home Minister Amit Shah, on 30 June to reach a consensus about the constituency.
He stayed in Delhi for three days before resigning from the position. The reason provided for this resignation was to avert a ‘constitutional crisis’
On Friday, the chief minister addressed a press conference in Dehradun. He was expected to announce his resignation at the conference. But he evaluated the performance of the government in the state and announced that over twenty-one governmental departments will be employing twenty-two thousand staffers over the next six months.
He met with JP Nadda and completed the resignation formalities.
Tirath Singh Rawat is a member of the Lok Sabha from Tehri Garhwal and not a member of the state assembly. He was appointed as the chief minister on March 10, 2021, as a replacement for Trivendra Singh Rawat. To continue his position as a chief minister, he would have to win the assembly seat by 10 September.
In an ideal situation, he would’ve received the membership of the assembly legislation after winning the by-poll. But the assembly elections are expected to be held next year.
According to the Representation of People Act, a bypoll cannot be held if the elections are scheduled in a year. This would lead to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) choosing a new candidate for the position of the chief minister.
The Election Commission decided that the bypolls will be held depending on the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Section 151 (A) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 states that a bypoll election should be held within six months of vacancy.
However, there are two exceptions stated under the clause – if the remainder of the term with the vacancy available is less than a year or if the Election Commission decides that the bypoll will not be held due to circumstances. The Election Commission can reach the decision through thorough discussions with the central government.
Trivendra Singh Rawat quit the position in March due to alleged discontent among the leaders and MLAs of the party. The party members claimed the development schemes were railing at a slower pace.
The decision to pass the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Bill infuriated the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders along with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members. According to the law, approximately fifty-one shrines including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri would be under the direct control of the state. The then chief minister Rawat said the act was passed to help management in shrines.
However, the members of BJP expressed their disagreement stating the government should have a limited role in managing the shrines. A protest was held in April by the members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad who brought the matter under the notice of the top cadre of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Another step by Trivendra Singh Rawat was criticized when he announced the position of a new commissioner in Garasain. The state has two administrative units in Garhwal and Kumaon. The people of Uttarakhand were agitated over the decision.
Dhan Singh Rawat, Satpal Maharaj, Banshidhar Bhagat, Harak Singh Rawat, and Dhan Singh Rawat are reportedly the replacements of Tirath Singh Rawat.
The Bharatiya Janata Party will be holding a meeting to elect a new legislature head at the party headquarters in Dehradun. Narendra Singh Tomar, the union agricultural minister, has been appointed as the central observer of the discussion.