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BJP pacifies ‘sulking’ MLAs as Dhami takes oath as 11th Uttarakhand CM

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Dehradun: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seemed mulling over to pacify its sulking and ‘upset’ senior leaders as Khatima legislator, Pushkar Singh Dhami, prepares to take oath as the eleventh Chief Minister of Uttarakhand amid reports that the selection of Dhami for the top role has fuelled resentment in the state unit.

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Dhami, 45, a two-time MLA, has no previous experience of being a minister and his surprise elevation to the top post allegedly rankled several senior ministers like Satpal Maharaj, Yashpal Arya, Bishan Singh Chuphal, Subodh Uniyal and Harak Singh Rawat. Many of them have a Congress background and had joined BJP in 2016 after rebelling from the Congress. 

Although none of the ministers or MLAs openly voiced their dissent and the party officially denied any discontent, the indication that all was not well was evident as several leaders were closeted at Satpal Maharaj’s residence in the morning to chalk out their strategy. The BJP quickly swung into damage control to manage the situation.

As per sources, Union home minister Amit Shah spoke to a few of the disgruntled leaders. Accordingly, Dhan Singh Rawat, who was higher education minister in the Trivendra and Tirath governments, met Yashpal Arya while Lok Sabha MP from Nainital Ajay Bhatt was given the task to pacify Chuphal.

Meanwhile, Dhami himself drove down to Maharaj’s residence in the afternoon and had a brief discussion with him. Subsequently, at around 3.30 pm, barely one and a half hours before the swearing-in was scheduled, it was indicated that all the senior leaders would attend the ceremony at Raj Bhawan.

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Dhami retained all 11 ministers of the Tirath government in his cabinet and also elevated the three ministers of state in the previous government– Rekha Arya, Dhan Singh Rawat and Swami Yatishwaranand – to cabinet minister rank. Besides the three, the Dhami cabinet now consists of Satpal Maharaj, Harak Singh Rawat, Bansidhar Bhagat, Yashpal Arya, Bishan Singh Chuphal, Subodh Uniyal, Arvind Pandey and Ganesh Joshi. All of them were administered oath of office by governor Baby Rani Maurya.

While sources said that no major changes are expected in the portfolios that were previously held by the ministers, the official intimation regarding this is to be announced soon. After the swearing-in, the cabinet members met for a formal meeting late in the evening at the state secretariat.

Let’s know this former CM of Uttarakhand, Tirath Singh Rawat, more closely-

-Born on April 9, 1964, Tirath Singh Rawat hails from Pauri district of Uttarakhand.

-He is the Lok Sabha MP from the Garhwal constituency.

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-The 56-year-old leader holds a post-graduation degree in Sociology from Birla College, Srinagar, Garhwal in Uttarakhand and also holds a PG diploma in the field of journalism.

-His wife is a college lecturer.

-After the formation of Uttarakhand as a separate state, he became the first Education Minister of the state in 2000 under the BJP.

-He was the BJP chief in Uttarakhand from 2013 to 2015 and also an MLA from the state in the past.

-Rawat comes from a staunch Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) background. He served as a full-time RSS worker for a period of five years.

-He joined the Sangh’s student organisation, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) during his student days.

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-He has also served as the Student Union President of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University.

-Rawat has also held the post of ABVP’s state organisation minister in Uttarakhand and later sworn in as ABVP’s national organisation minister.

-From the year, 1983 to 1988, he took up the responsibility of being a full-time RSS worker.

-After successfully discharging the responsibilities associated with the Sangh, he got an opportunity to enter mainstream politics with the BJP.

-In 2007, Rawat became the BJP’s Uttarakhand state General Secretary. He also served as the chairman of the hilly state Natural Disaster Management Advisory Committee.

-He was also appointed as an MLA from Chaubattakhal Assembly constituency in Uttarakhand in 2012.

-Due to his expertise in building the organisation, the BJP’s national leadership made him the state president of the Uttarakhand BJP in 2013.

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-He was the state president of Uttarakhand BJP on December 31, 2015.

-Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his tenure as the party’s national president, appointed Rawat as BJP’s national secretary in 2017.

-The saffron party had fielded him from the Garhwal constituency during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and he won the election by a margin of more than 2.85 lakh votes.

-The BJP swept the elections in 2017, winning 57 seats in the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly. Congress, on the other hand, won just 11 seats.

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