NEW DELHI: Battling a faction feud back home and a rising chorus for a leadership change in the local BJP unit, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Friday called on the party’s national president JP Nadda. While Rawat is learnt to have sought the nod of the party leadership for a Cabinet expansion, the chief minister also made a determined effort to assure the high command that his government continues to command popularity in the hill state.
The Rawat cabinet has not yet been expanded to its full capacity, with the nod of the top leadership not forthcoming, sources said. The Uttarakhand CM also briefed the top leadership about the development work being carried out in the state, particularly those pertaining to the Char Dham Yatra. The BJP unit in Uttarakhand has long been faction-ridden, with a section of party leaders making attempts to convey to the top leadership to take timely action to avoid a repeat of the electoral loss in Jharkhand. Along with Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand will go to polls in 2022. The state is known for a ‘revolving door’ electoral mandate, with the electorate voting out the incumbent government every five years.
“The BJP hadn’t done well in the panchayat elections last year. There are concerns within the party that the popularity of the BJP government is on the slide. It could be checked with the leadership change in the state. It’s up to the central leadership to take a crucial call in the quest of altering the state’s electoral trend,” said a senior BJP functionary. There were similar attempts to effect a leadership change in Jharkhand but the BJP’s central leadership continued to back then CM Raghubar Das. The resurgent Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led grand alliance was able to cash in on the anti-incumbency against the Ragubar government to oust the BJP from power. Rawat also met Railways Minister Piyush Goyal to review the progress of expansion of the rail networks in his state.