BJP weighs options for Uttarakhand CM post


There are different opinions within the party over giving Pushkar Singh Dhami another chance while many are saying it will set a wrong precedent, reports Asian Lite News

Uncertainty is still prevailing over the next Chief Minister of Uttarakhand after Pushkar Singh Dhami lost assembly elections. Days after the declaration of poll results, the BJP is still trying to find a suitable formula to select the new Chief Minister of the hill state.

Sources said that despite winning two third majority, the BJP is in a peculiar situation after Dhami lost from Khatima as there are different opinions within the party over giving him another chance, while some are supporting second chance for him, many are saying it will set a wrong precedent which party always opposed.

“A section in the party feels that making a leader Chief Minister who lost the polls will be against the BJP’s practice and it must be avoided this time also. We have questioned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after she lost from Nandigram in last year’s state assembly polls. In 2017, the party did not make Prem Kumar Dhumal the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh after he lost the election,” a party leader said.

Another section in the party believes that Dhami should be given a chance for his hard work he put in to ensure BJP’s victory. “After several rounds of informal consultation in the state capital, more meetings are likely to take place in the national capital. It is learnt that the key agenda of the meeting will be to decide criteria for selection of a new Chief Minister.”

Apart from the Dhami’s fate, there are other issues like caste and region to be addressed before finalizing the name of the new chief minister. The party leadership has to take a call on whether new chief minister will be from Garhwal or Kumaon and also whether he or she will be Thakur or Brahmin,” a party insider said.

Another critical issue is to decide where the new Chief Minister is an MLA or from outside (non MLA). Several names have started doing the rounds in the Uttarakhand political circle. Some prominent ones are minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt, former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni among non MLAs.

Among MLAs, names of Satpal Singh Maharaj and Dhan Singh Rawat are doing the rounds in political circles.

The BJP has retained power for a second term in Uttarakhand by winning 47 seats out of 70 but the incumbent chief minister Dhami lost the poll from Khatima.

Loss of 11 Yogi ministers

Despite the BJP’s historic victory in Uttar Pradesh, the drubbing faced by 11 ministers of the Yogi Adityanath government, including Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya, who was credited with the party’s win in 2017, and Sugarcane Minister Suresh Rana, has raised many questions within the party.

The defeat of Rana from Shamli district, Rajendra Pratap Singh alias Moti Singh from Pratapgarh, Chandrika Prasad Upadhyay from Chitrakoot, Anand Swarup Shukla from Ballia, Upendra Tiwari, Satish Dwivedi from Siddharthnagar district, Lakhan Singh Rajput from Auraiya, Chhatrapal Singh Gangwar from Bareilly, Ranvendra Singh from Fatehpur, Sangeeta Balwant from Ghazipur and the controversial MLA Sangeet Som, has raised several questions about the party’s prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

While the BJP broke the trend in Uttarakhand by returning to power for the second time, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami lost the election from Khatima, which has made it difficult for the party to elect a new Chief Minister.

Uttar Pradesh polls have proved that the Modi-Yogi bond is stronger than the combined popularity of Samajwadi party’s Akhilesh Yadav, and the Congress’s Rahul-Priyanka pair.

For the first time in 37 years, Uttar Pradesh has returned a party to power, that too, with a thumping majority of 273 seats. In a state where the government is usually formed with 30 per cent votes, the BJP is set to form the government for the second time in a row, by securing over 40 per cent votes.

While Priayanka Gandhi’s failure in resurrecting the Congress in Uttar Pradesh called for revamp in the party, Modi held a massive roadshow in Gujarat, the very next day after poll results, to kickstart his party’s campaign for the Assembly elections in the state scheduled this year.

Assembly elections are due in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, which is the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he has been the Chief Minister for over 12 years.

The BJP has been winning the Assembly elections in Gujarat since 1995. However, since 1993, no party has been been voted to power twice in a row in Himachal Pradesh.

Even though the Congress is the main opposition party in both the states, the BJP, which is determined to win both the elections, has already fielded its most popular faces for the post of Chief Minister.

However, unlike the Congress, the BJP constantly analyses its election results and accordingly keeps on altering its future strategies.

Who will be Manipur CM?

All the newly-elected MLAs in Manipur will be sworn in as members of legislative assembly today. The MLAs would be administered the oath of office and secrecy by senior BJP MLA Sorokhaibam Rajen Singh, who was on Sunday sworn in as the protem speaker of the assembly, the NDTV reported.

Caretaker Chief Minister N Biren Singh, newly elected MLAs Biswajit Singh, Y Khemchand Singh, Govindas Konthoujam, Chief Secretary Rajesh Kumar, Director General of Police P. Doungel and other top officials are expected to attend the function, it was reported.

The term of the outgoing assembly is due to expire on March 19.

N Biren Singh on Friday submitted his resignation letter as Chief Minister to Governor Satya Pal Malik, who asked him to continue in his office until the new government takes charge.

There is no confirmation yet as to when the next Chief Minister would be chosen, or when the new BJP-led government would assume office.

Before the elections, the BJP had informally declared that Mr Singh will be the party’s chief ministerial face and will head the next government. The BJP went solo this time and contested all seats alone. The party won 32 seats out of 60 in Manipur, it was reported.

ALSO READ: What results mean for BJP