DEHRADUN: Embattled Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat late on Friday night submitted his resignation letter to Governor Baby Rani Maurya, marking the end of his rather short tenure.Confirming his resignation, Rawat later said, “I resigned to avoid a Constitutional crisis that arises due to Sections 164 and 151 of the Representation of the People Act 1951.”
The crisis he was referring to was about the technical problem in his getting elected to the Assembly before September 10. But another section of the law says bypoll can be held only if the elected person can hold office for at least a year. The term of the current Assembly will end on March 23 next.
Uttarakhand BJP president Madan Kaushik said, “The next leader will be chosen in the party legislature meet tomorrow from among the MLAs.” Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar is likely to oversee the selection process. Responding to queries about why he did not contest the April by-elections for the Salt Assembly seat in Almora district, Rawat said, “I was down with Covid-19 then.”
Soon after his resignation, names of many leaders aspiring to step into his shoes started doing the rounds. They included those of Satpal Maharaj, Shan Singh Rawat, Bishan Singh Chuphal and Kaushik.Before Rawat met the Governor, he addressed a drab press conference, where he rattled out his performance report during his brief tenure.In the morning, Rawat went into a huddle with BJP president J P Nadda for over 50 minutes in Delhi, during which time he reportedly offered to step down.
He also wrote to the Election Commision of India requesting it to announce by-elections dates for the state. Party insiders said that was his last ditch attempt to save his chair.Rawat’s departure means the state would get its third chief minister in less than four months. Rawat, a Lok Sabha MP from Pauri, had taken oath of office as chief minister on March 10.Apart from the legal hassle, party insiders said his resignation was due to difficulty in getting him elected to the state Assembly.
It was after Rawat got into the saddle that the Maha Kumbh became a spectacle despite the second Covid wave creating a tsunami of sorts and turning the pilgrimage into a super spreader event. His off-the-cuff comments on ripped jeans and free rations had already made him a punching bag.