Who will be next CM of Uttarakhand? Will BJP bet on Dhami or look for a new CM?
Dehradun, Mar 12: Uncertainity over the next chief minister of Uttarakhand has arisen, despite a landslide victory by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami's faced defeat in his own constituency of Khatima.
At least half a dozen names have begun doing the rounds as Dhami's likely replacement, including Chaubattakhal MLA Satpal Maharaj, Srinagar Garhwal MLA Dhan Singh Rawat, former chief minister Triveda Singh Rawat, who did not contest the polls this time, and Didihat legislator Bishan Singh Chufal.
However, Trivendra Singh Rawat categorically ruled himself out of the race, telling reporters here on Friday that had he been in the race, he would have contested the polls, instead of staying out of the fray.
Names of former Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni are also afloat.
Several names invariably become a butt of media speculation in Uttarakhand whenever the prospect of a change of guard emerges in the state. However, the BJP always brings a surprise element by choosing someone who was out of the range of media speculation.
About Dhami, he said he may have lost his seat but he has won hearts.
Union minister Pralhad Joshi also attributed the party's win in Uttarakhand to Dhami's young and dynamic leadership.
However, a section of BJP leaders here are of the view that the assembly polls were contested in the name of Dhami.
So, the party should continue with Dhami, instead of going for yet another face, they say.
Dhami's defeat from Khatima, a seat he had been winning since 2012, was the most notable on a day that saw the BJP win 47 out of 70 assembly seats in the state.
Despite losing Khatima, Dhami can still remain the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.
Article 164 (4) of the Indian Constitution says a minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister. This would mean that Dhami will get six months to get elected from any constituency in the state in a by-election.