Trivendra Singh Rawat on Tuesday resigned as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, ending days of speculations about a leadership change in the BJP-ruled hill state amid reports of discontent against him. Rawat submitted his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya at the Raj Bhawan upon his arrival from Delhi after meeting the central BJP leadership. After submitting his resignation, Rawat said the Uttarakhand BJP Legislature Party will meet at the party's state headquarters at 10 am on Wednesday (March 10) to choose his successor.
Who will take charge after Trivendra Singh Rawat?
After Trivendra's resignation, state minister Dhan Singh Rawat has emerged as a frontrunner to be the next chief minister, sources said. They also said Ajay Bhatt and Anil Baluni, two senior leaders from the state who are members of Parliament, are also being seen as two other strong probables.
Earlier, before proceeding to the Raj Bhawan, Rawat was closeted with his associates at the chief minister's residence including Cabinet minister Madan Kaushik and state minister Dhan Singh Rawat. Rawat was going to complete four years in office on March 17.
Someone else should lead state now, Trivendra said in presser
Soon after submitting his resignation, Rawat addressed a press conference at his official residence, telling the media that the party has "collectively decided" that someone else should lead the state now.
He said he comes from a humble background and never even imagined his party will give him the honour of serving Uttarakhand for nearly four years as a chief minister.
No CM in Uttarakhand except late ND Tiwari had completed full term
No chief minister, except the late ND Tiwari of the Congress, has completed his or her five-year term as the CM of the young hill state which was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in November 2000.
Fell honoured party gave me opportunity, said Trivendra
"I feel really honoured that my party gave me the opportunity to serve Devbhoomi for nearly four years," Rawat said.
"Now, the party has collectively decided that I give this opportunity to someone else. So, I have submitted my resignation to the Governor. I wish all the best to whoever takes over from me," he said.
He said that during his tenure, several steps were taken for the empowerment of women including a recent ordinance giving the ownership rights to women in the ancestral property of their husbands.
Asked as to what was the reason behind his replacement, Rawat did not divulge much. "I told you it was a collective decision of the party." On being queried further, Rawat quipped, "You will have to go to Delhi to find that out."
Central party observers Raman Singh and Dushyant Kumar Gautam are also scheduled to land in the state later today to oversee the process of change of guard in the state.
State BJP president Bansidhar Bhagat, state minister Dhan Singh Rawat, Vikas Nagar MLA and Pradesh BJP, chief spokesman Munna Singh Chauhan, Cantt area MLA Harbans Kapoor and Dehradun MLA Sunil Uniyal Gama were also present at Rawat's last press conference as the chief minister.
Rawat became the chief minister of Uttarakhand on March 18, 2017 when the BJP stormed to power, winning 57 of the state's 70 Assembly seats.
The central BJP leadership had recently sent Raman Singh and Dushayant Gautam to the state to get feedback from the party's core group amid reports of discontent against the chief minister, as the state enters a poll year.
Speculations about a change of leadership began after the two arrived on Saturday last week for an unscheduled meeting of the state party's core committee. Raman Singh is said to have met all the core committee members individually to take their feedback before submitting his report to the party high command.
Rawat now amongst fmr Uttarakhand CMs who stepped down before full term completion
With his resignation, Rawat joins the group of nearly half a dozen former chief ministers of Uttarakhand who had to step down without completing their tenure including Nityanand Swami, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Vijay Bahuguna and Harish Rawat.
An eyewash, claims Congress
The Congress said the resignation of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was an eyewash to hide the government's "failures", and urged the President to dismiss the BJP dispensation in the state.
Congress party in-charge for Uttarakhand Devendra Yadav said at a press conference that the act shows the "admission" by the BJP of its government's "failure" in fulfilling the aspirations of people of the state. He said the BJP government should resign and go to the people to seek fresh elections.
Yadav said this shows that nothing in the name of development has taken place in Uttarakhand under the BJP rule, except "corruption".
"This is a failed attempt of the BJP to cover up the failures of its government in the state and hide the corruption taking place there," he alleged.
"The Congress demands immediate dismissal of the BJP government and the resignation of Trivendra Singh Rawat alone would not suffice. The BJP needs to resign from the government and go to the people again," he said.
"The President of India should take note and dismiss the government as it has failed to fulfil the aspirations of people. The people of Uttarakhand demand that this government be dismissed and President's Rule imposed and fresh elections be held in the state," Yadav said claiming that the Congress is ready for election.
Rawat's resignation result of alleged corruption, says Congress
The Congress leader said Rawat's resignation is a result of alleged corruption, lack of development, rising unemployment and mismanagement during the pandemic and earlier during the Kumbh Mela.
He claimed that Uttarakhand has a high unemployment rate of 26 per cent and huge migration is taking place from villages in the state in the absence of employment opportunities.
"The BJP tries to find an escape route and this is one," he said, alleging that people understand everything and will give a befitting reply to the BJP in the next elections.
Asked about the BJP talking of course correction, Yadav said, "It is clear that the BJP admits that this government has not done anything in the name of development and only corruption has taken place in the state."
(With inputs from PTI)