Ahead of next year’s assembly polls, the BJP tried to woo young voters and strengthen its base in Kumaon region by electing Pushkar Singh Dhami as new chief minister of Uttarakhand.
It is learnt that Dhami is considered close to former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and union defence minister Rajnath Singh in national politics. A source in Uttarakhand BJP said that Dhami has close association with Koshiyari and served as officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the former chief minister.
“He has a close relationship with the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also,” he said.
The 45-year-old is a two-time MLA from Khatima constituency. Saffron camp in Uttarakhand believes that the move will strengthen party in the Kumaon region and among youths. “Dhamiji represents both — youth and the Kumaon region. Under him leadership vacuum from Kumaon region will be filled which will help the party expand its base in the region. Under Dhamiji’s leadership, BJP will register historic victory in the state and especially in Kumaon region,” Gaurav Pandey, in-charge of Uttarakhand BJP Youth Wing said.
Another Uttarakhand BJP leader said that Dhami as chief minister also helped the saffron party counter former chief minister and Congress leader Harish Rawat’s clout in the Kumaon region.
“This is the first time the Kaumon region has been given proper importance by the party and it will help us in next year’s assembly polls,” he said.
Dhami worked in different positions in the students wing of the RSS — the ABVP, for almost a decade and was active in student politics in Lucknow. He also served as president of BJP youth wing in Uttarakhand for two terms.
Dhami was elected as new chief minister of Uttarakhand in the meeting of the BJP’s legislature party in Dehradun. Election of new chief minister was held in presence of central observers — Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and party national general secretary D. Purandeswari. BJP in-charge for Uttarakhand Dushyant Gautam was also present in the meeting.
Dhami replaced Tirath Singh Rawat, who on Friday late evening submitted his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya. Rawat, a Lok Sabha member from Garhwal Lok Sabha seat, and as per the rules, needed to be sworn in as an elected MLA within six months of taking over as the chief minister, but that did not happen.