NEW DELHI: A revolt by the BJP MLAs in Uttarakhand on Tuesday forced the party leadership to change the chief minister.
Incumbent Trivendra Singh Rawat (60) pleaded his case in New Delhi but was asked to fly back to Uttaranchal and submit his resignation to Governor Baby Rani Maurya.
The resignation, in turn, has cleared the decks for appointment of his successor.
The change comes just a year before the state votes in Assembly elections in February next year. Rawat's term lasted four years.
Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh as a separate state in November 2000. In 20 years, the late Narayan Dutt Tiwari was the only chief minister who could complete his full tenure of five years.
BJP national vice-president Raman Singh will chair a meeting of the BJP legislature party convened in Dehradun on Wednesday. Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni 56), head of the media department in national BJP, is tipped to be the new chief minister as he is very close to Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The other names in circulation as Rawat's replacement are Ajay Bhatt (60), a Lok Sabha member from Nainital, and two Uttarakhand Ministers -- spiritual leader Satpal Maharaj (59) and Dhan Singh Rawat (48).
Outgoing Chief Minister Rawat had rushed to Delhi on Monday to plead with the Prime Minister as also with Amit Shah and BJP President J P Nadda, but all three advised him to resign in view of a report shared by Dr Raman Singh and national general secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam.
The report had said that the party will face its worst drubbing unless Rawat is removed immediately as the chief minister. It is being seen in some quarters as a vote of no-confidence by the party in its own government. The BJP rarely replaces a Chief Minister for non-performance, though it has happened in Uttarakhand earlier, too.