Barely four months after taking charge as the Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat handed his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya on Friday, July 2. This comes ahead of the Legislative Assembly elections that will be held in the state in February 2022.
His tenure is the shortest of any Uttarakhand Chief Minister.
Rawat was sworn in as the Chief Minister on March 10, replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat. At present, he continues to be a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha). Reportedly, he would have to be elected as an MLA by September of this year to continue in the post.
The party members have scheduled a meeting for Saturday, July 3, at 3:00 PM, to elect a new leader. The meeting is to be held under the chairmanship of Uttarakhand BJP unit president Madan Kaushik.
Rawat Asked To Quit
According to the reports, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had asked Rawat to quit his post.
This comes after he attended three days of meetings with the party in Delhi, following which he submitted the papers to party chief J.P Nadda and the governor, NDTV reported.
Addressing a press conference, Rawat said, "Given the constitutional crisis, I felt it was right for me to resign. Bypolls could not be held because of COVID-19."
According to the Hindustan Times report, a senior BJP leader said that Rawat had put down his papers because the Election Commission was unlikely to hold by-polls due to the COVID-19 scenario.
"There are many by-elections due. The COVID situation is a major consideration," Election Commission sources told the media.
Controversies Surrounding Rawat
The former Chief Minister has come under the radar several times for many of his controversial statements.
Remarks on Ripped Jeans: During a workshop conducted by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in March, Rawat had said that women who wear ripped jeans send the wrong message to society and children.
America Enslaved India: During an event on International Forests Day in Nainital on 21 March, Rawat confused Britain with the United States, and claimed that America had enslaved India for 200 years and ruled the world.
Families Benefiting From Govt Ration Scheme: At the same event, he said that poor families should have produced more kids to receive extra ration during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that families with two members were jealous of the families with 20 members, as the latter benefited the most from the government ration scheme. "Why didn't you produce more kids when there was time?" he had said.
RT-PCR Not Must For Kumbh Pilgrims: The former minister stoked another controversy after allowing the Kumbh Mela to be held in April. He had further said that an RT-PCR report was not mandatory for the pilgrims.
Rawat was also wrapped in a recent controversy that had emerged stating that a large number of fake COVID tests were conducted during Kumbh. However, he said the scam was done before he took charge as the Chief Minister.
Leaders On Rawat's Resignations
Several politicians commented on Rawat's resignations, and many called it a joke. In a series of tweets, Congress leader and former CM Harish Rawat said that the party had made the position of its leaders ridiculous. He said Tirath Rawat had become a 'joke' after no decision was taken on contesting elections.
The minister quitting because the by-elections cannot be held in Uttarakhand due to COVID is the biggest lie, he added.
The party will be electing the third Chief Minister of Uttarakhand in the tenure of five years.