BJP's Dhan Singh Rawat emerges as frontrunner for new Uttarakhand CM

Dhan Singh Rawat
Dhan Singh Rawat seen as shoo-in for next CM of Uttarakhand. Photo: @drdhansinghuk/twitter

New Delhi: After the resignation of Uttarakhand chief minister, the name of state minister Dhan Singh Rawat has emerged as a frontrunner to replace Trivendra Singh Rawat.

The other names doing the rounds for the post of chief minister are Satpal Maharaj, Ajay Bhatt and Anil Baluni.

Sources said the party may also bring in a deputy chief minister, who will be from the Kumaon region.

Pushkar Singh Dhami is likely to be deputy chief minister.

The development came after Trivendra Singh Rawat on Tuesday submitted his resignation as the CM of Uttarakhand to Governor Baby Rani Maurya.

A meeting of the BJP legislative party in Uttarakhand is scheduled for Wednesday morning to elect a new leader. BJP national Vice President Raman Singh has been sent to the state as a central observer, while the party's national General Secretary and state in-charge Dushyant Gautam will also attend the meeting.

Uttarakhand CM resigns
Trivendra Singh Rawat submitted his resignation as the CM of Uttarakhand to Governor Baby Rani Maurya.

Dhan Singh Rawat, a minister in the Trivendra Singh Rawat government, has emerged as the front-runner for the top post in Uttarakhand. He is also close to the RSS and has worked as the state secretary of ABVP. He also served as an RSS office-bearer.

Dhan Singh Rawat had unsuccessfully contested the elections for the first time in 2012, before winning in 2017. He currently holds the post of Education Minister in the state.

Apart from Dhan Singh Rawat, another prominent name doing the rounds in BJP circles is that of Satpal Maharaj, also a minister in the current government. Maharaj has clearly shown his ambition to become the chief minister, besides being one of the MLAs who had expressed their dissent against Trivendra Singh Rawat.

"Satpal Maharaj's past association with the Congress may dampen his chances to become the chief minister," said a BJP leader. Maharaj had joined the BJP in 2014.

Another strong contender is BJP MP and former state unit president Ajay Bhatt. Bhatt was the state president when Union Home Minister Amit Shah was the party's national president.

Sources said that by nominating Bhatt for the post of chief minister, the party will have to face two by-polls -- one each for the Lok Sabha and the state Assembly within six months.

"First Bhatt has to resign from the Lok Sabha and then he has to get himself elected to the state Assembly within six months of assuming office as the chief minister. With just one year of the tenure of the state Assembly left, the party leadership may not go for a by-poll six months ahead of the scheduled Assembly elections next year," said a party leader.

The name of Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni is also doing the rounds for the top post, owing to his closeness to the prime minister and the party's central leadership.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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