A day after Tirath Singh Rawat resigned as Uttarakhand Chief Minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) picked Pushkar Singh Dhami for the top post. Dhami will be 11th CM of the hilly state and third in four months. Dhami represents Khatima constituency in the Uttarakhand Assembly.
Dhami, who is considered close to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, selected as the CM during a meeting of BJP's 57 MLAs on Saturday. The meeting was also attended Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar who has been appointed as the observer for the state by the BJP.
Speaking after he was appointed as next chief minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami said, "My party has appointed a common worker, son of an ex-serviceman, who was born in Pithoragarh to serve the state. We'll work together for people's welfare. We accept the challenge of serving people with the help of others, in a short time span."
"We're happy with this decision. We got a young leader. We'll win going to win 2022 Assembly elections with a better margin," said BJP MP Ajay Bhatt after Pushkar Singh Dhami appointed as State BJP legislature party leader.
Names of Satpal Maharaj, Dhan Singh Rawat, Trivendra Singh Rawat were also in the fray for the Uttarakhand CM post.
Uttarakhand ex-CM Tirath Singh Rawat resigned from the post on Friday night on the grounds of facing a constitutional crisis. He submitted his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya.
There was a strong buzz in the party that this time chief minister would be most likely to be elected from MLAs only as the state assembly election is due in the next eight months.
Rawat, a Lok Sabha member from Garhwal, and as per the rules, needs to be sworn in as an elected MLA within six months of taking over as the chief minister. Rawat was supposed to get himself elected to the state Assembly before September 10 to remain in office, which could not happen due to provision of Representation of the People Act, 1951.
"Timing of the swearing in will be scheduled at the earliest after staking claim to form the government," a party insider said. Tirath Singh Rawat was sworn in as Uttarakhand's CM on March 10 replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat.
Sources said that Tirath Singh Rawat, who was in Delhi till Friday evening, where he had met BJP chief JP Nadda twice in three days, was asked by the party leadership to resign to avoid a constitutional crisis.
Sources said that on Wednesday night at a meeting at Union Home Minister Amit Shah's residence, Nadda had explained to Rawat about exception provided under Section 151 of Act for not holding by-elections -- if the remainder of the term in relation to the vacancy is less than a year or if the Election Commission, in consultation with the Centre, certifies that it is difficult to hold the by-election within the said period.
On Friday afternoon, Rawat once again met Nadda and left for Dehradun to submit his resignation to the governor.
(With inputs from IANS)