The Uttarakhand unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called a legislature party meeting at 3 pm tomorrow at the party headquarters, news agency ANI reported. The meeting will be held under the chairmanship of state president Madan Kaushik, says state's media in-charge Manveer Singh Chauhan, it added.
Sources in the party told news agency IANS that the legislative party meeting has been called to elect a new Chief Minister.
"We have learned that Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will be coming as central observer of the legislative party meeting to elect a new Chief Minister. We have heard that an MLA will be elected for the post of Chief Minister to avoid any crisis like the current one," a Uttarakhand BJP leader told IANS.
According to an NDTV report, Satpal Maharaj and Dhan Singh Rawat have sent feelers to the BJP leadership that they are interested in replacing Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat. Meanwhile, the names of Pushkar Dhani and Ritu Khanduri are also doing the rounds.
This comes after reports of Rawat offering his resignation came on Friday evening. According to an India Today report, Rawat has offered to resign from his post in order to avoid a Constitutional crisis in the state. The report added that he has also written a letter to BJP national president JP Nadda. As per an NDTV report, Rawat had been in Delhi for the past three days and had several meetings with the BJP leadership. Soon after his meeting with Nadda on Friday afternoon, he also sought an appointment with Governor Baby Rani Maurya.
For the uninitiated, according to the Constitution, Tirath Singh Rawat, an MP from Pauri Garhwal who was sworn in as Chief Minister on March 10 replacing Trivendra Rawat, needs to become a member of the state assembly before September 10 to continue in office.
Section 151A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 mandates the Election Commission to fill vacancies in Parliament and the state legislatures through bypolls within six months from the date of their occurrence, provided that the remainder of the term of the new member is one year or more.
Meanwhile, political observers told news agency PTI that with the term of the assembly coming to an end in less than a year, the EC may not order a bypoll for the vacant seats in Uttarakhand.
Scathing criticism by the courts of the string of elections held during the coronavirus pandemic may also contribute to the EC decision on Uttarakhand bypolls, the observers added.
Political observers further said the Centre may also not press for a bypoll in Uttarakhand as bypolls are also due in other parts of the country and the hill state cannot be made an exception.
If a bypoll is not held then the only option left for the BJP's central leadership is to replace Rawat with someone who is already an MLA, they added.