Central observers give breather to Uttarakhand CM Rawat, reshuffle likely in Cabinet

The much-awaited core committee meeting of the BJP in Uttrakhand on Saturday gave a breather to Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who faces growing resentment from his party MLAs and MPs.

The meeting, attended by two Central party observers, former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and National General Secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam, hinted at a possible reshuffle in the cabinet to accommodate a few MLAs not happy with CM Rawat’s style of functioning.

Both observers would now give a detailed report to Home Minister Amit Shah and President J.P. Nadda.

Later, talking to mediapersons, state Party President Bansidhar Bhagat clarified that as of now there is no change-of-guard in Uttarakhand.

For the past several days, there was speculation that CM Trivendra Singh Rawat may be replaced as most of the party MLAs and MPS, particularly officials close to the CM office, had complained against the working style of the CM and his bureaucracy.

“All is well. We discussed the four-year tenure of the government and a few other issues. Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank was also expected to be present in the meeting but he could not come,” Bhagat told reporters.

Sources at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi revealed to IANS that National President J.P. Nadda had sent senior leaders Raman Singh and Dushyant Kumar Gautam to Dehradun in the light of increasing resentment against CM Rawat.

“Now Rawat has also been called to New Delhi. He would be meeting the top leadership. We will have to wait and see what the next step taken by the high command is, as far as a change-of-guard in Dehradun is concerned,” said a party office bearer.

Earlier several names were doing the rounds in Dehradun as well in Delhi as possible candidates to replace Trivendra Singh Rawat as CM. Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who represents Haridwar in the Lok Sabha, seemed the frontrunner for the job. Nishank has earlier been Chief Minister of Uttarakhand from 2009 to 2011. Besides, a few other candidates, including former state Party President and MP from Nainital-Uddham Singhnagar Ajay Bhatt, state cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj and state General Secretary Suresh Bhatt were also being considered for the coveted post.

In fact several complaints, including those filed in the Nainital High Court, have pointed out the inefficiencies in the state government’s functioning.

A recent complaint filed in the High Court relating to major projects of Haridwar Kumbh Mela, highlighting incompletion of important works, caused embarrassment to the party.

A controversial sting operation against CM Rawat which snowballed into a political controversy in Uttarakhand was also not seen in good light by the central leadership. “Though Rawatji has got a breather, I feel the matter is not yet over as the resentment of the MLAs needs to be addressed,” a source said at the party headquarters here in New Delhi.

Present CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, who comes from the RSS mainstream, has been a pracharak in the mid-1980s. In 2002, Rawat became an MLA and in 2007 a state minister in the BJP-ruled government in Uttrakhand. In 2017, he became the Chief Minister of the state after the Harish Singh Rawat-led Congress lost the the political battle to the BJP.