New Delhi: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat handed in his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya on Friday night. In his statement, Rawat cited technicalities for his resignation.
“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,” he said.
Tirath Singh Rawat is the second Uttarakhand CM to have resigned in the last six months. His four-month-long tenure came to an abrupt end on Friday.
So, what set the stage for Rawat’s ouster?
Tirath Singh Rawat wasn’t a member of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly. He took oath as CM on March 10 and had six months to be elected as MLA through a bypoll. Elections are anyway due in Uttarakhand in March 2022.
As per Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, a bypoll can’t be held in a state if Assembly polls are due in a year, which in the case of Uttarakhand is March 2022.
The BJP’s choice of a non-MLA as the Uttarakhand CM in March wasn’t probably a prudent decision in the first place.
Rawat’s poor performance in the last four months and his distasteful remarks had become a headache for the BJP.
Tirath Singh Rawat’s “ripped jeans” remark on women right after assuming power got him into the limelight, not his work. The rising Covid numbers in the state, his handling of the Kumbh Mela at the peak of Covid, and his inability to defuse tensions within the state unit only made matters worse.
The fault lines were exposed and anti-incumbency had already set in. Sources say the BJP itself believes that under circumstances such as these, even if the EC were to conduct bypolls, Rawat would have lost.
Bypoll could have been held for the Salt Assembly seat in April but Rawat was down with Covid then. The BJP wasn’t sure of Rawat winning in Salt. The seat falls in the Kumaon region and Rawat’s political career was confined to Garhwal. It’s no different for the two seats of Haldwani and Gangotri.
The BJP couldn’t afford that for it would have an adverse impact on the party’s prospects in Assembly elections early next year.
Not just Uttarakhand, this would have an adverse impact on UP polls as well.
THE BENGAL SPIN
Experts believe the BJP, even as it faces difficulties in Uttarakhand due to the arising situation, has tried to score in West Bengal.
CM Mamata Banerjee, like Rawat, became the Chief Minister despite not being an MLA. She lost to Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram in the recently held Assembly elections.
Mamata needs to be elected an MLA from Bhowanipore in six months to continue. However, the BJP has pinned its hopes on the possibility that the EC would not conduct elections due to Covid for any state fearing the third wave. This would then put ‘didi’ in a tight spot.