New Delhi: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat is reaching Dehradun after three days in the national capital amid speculation that he may have to step down from his post. Rawat was in Delhi for the past three days where he met the top leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Reports also suggest that he sought a meeting with the state governor Baby Rani Maurya.
This is due to the rule that a CM who has been elected without winning a seat in the Legislative Assembly elections must do the same within six months of taking the oath.
All eyes are on the Election Commission which is yet to decide whether to hold bypolls in the state during the Covid-19 pandemic. Rawat, who took over as CM in March this year after a rebellion forced out his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat, needs to get elected to the state assembly by September.
Rawat is currently a Member of Parliament from Pauri and is yet to resign from the seat. There are currently two assembly seats vacant in the Uttarakhand assembly – Gangotri and Haldwani.
However, legal and constitutional issues have been raised over whether the Election Commission can hold bypolls amid the pandemic if the term of the state assembly is anyway scheduled to end in less than a year.
In case Rawat is replaced, two names that are frontrunners for the CM post, Minister of State (independent charge) Dhan Singh Rawat and cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj.
The former comes from the RSS while the latter left the Congress party in 2017 to join the BJP.
The BJP may also decide to replace Rawat with another MP sometime in August. In this case, the new CM will not have to face bypolls since the assembly tenure ends in March 2022, coinciding with the six-month deadline to be elected to the House.
The BJP legislature party meet is also scheduled to be held at 3 pm in Dehradun on Saturday under the chairmanship of state president Madan Kaushik.