Uttarakhand is abuzz with speculation that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could pick a new leader as Chief Minister, given the possibility that the Election Commission of India (ECI) may not hold a bypoll enabling Tirath Singh Rawat's election to the state assembly.
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 has also sought an appointment with Governor Baby Rani Maurya.
Meanwhile, Rawat has indicated that the BJP will take a call depending on the Election Commission's decision on holding a bypoll in the state, reported news agency PTI.
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 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.