Basking in glory of twin success in Panchayat elections and Pithoragarh by poll, TSR has silenced his detractors within BJP
Back to back successes in the Panchayat elections and the crucial Pithoragarh by election have shut the mouths of the baiters of the chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and have made things smoother than ever before for him. Rawat who was a surprise choice of the central leaders of the BJP after riding on a Modi wave, the saffron party coasted to a landslide victory in the Vidhan Sabha elections of 2017. In these elections the BJP secured an unprecedented 57 seats in the 70 member state assembly by cornering 46.5 percent of the popular vote. Since TSR was anointed on the post of CM by the party high command by bypassing leaders like former CMs Major General (retd) BC Khanduri, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank, formidable leaders like Satpal Maharaj and Prakash Pant, he was always on always on the target of his detractors. Rumours of his removal and crowning of a leader in his place always flew thick and fast. However faith of the top leaders of the party propelled the boat of CM, Rawat. His first test came in form of Tharali by election in May 2018. In this election, the party on the advice of TSR, fielded Munni Devi, widow of the Magan Lal Shah. Proving the choice right, Munni Devi defeated Congress veteran Jeet Ram by a margin of 1981 votes. After this election the challenge before the party was to retain control of the municipal bodies in the municipal elections held in November 2018. Considering the fact that these elections were held after one and half years after the BJP government was formed in Uttarakhand, these elections were termed as acid test for Trivendra Singh Rawat and performance of his government. This test too was passed by TSR government with flying colours with BJP candidates becoming Mayors in five out of seven Municipal corporations. After lying low for some time the detractors of TSR again fuelled rumour of change in guard in the state. However the Panchayat elections held in three phases last month brought smiles to the camp Trivendra in the state as the BJP candidates were elected presidents in nine out of 12 district Panchayats. The opposition Congress which won majority of seats in the Panchayat elections of 2014 was able to form its presidents in only two district Panchayats.
Close on the heels of the Panchayat elections, Pithoragarh by elections were held on November 25. The election was necessitated due to the death of former finance minister Late Prakash Pant (who once was considered strongest rival of TSR). On the insistence of TSR, the ticket of BJP was offered to Chandra Pant, the widow of Prakash Pant. It is said that Chandra Pant was initially reluctant to contest and wanted that Bhupesh Pant younger brother of Prakash Pant should be given party ticket. However BJP leader including the CM persuaded her to take an electoral plunge. The decision proved correct as Chandra Pant romped home comfortably defeating her Congress rival.
Senior journalist and political commentator Suren Rawat said that TSR has emerged stronger after the victories in Panchayat elections and Pithoragarh by election. “The only setback was loss in Roorkee municipal elections but there too a BJP rebel has won. The CM has shown the spine to take tough decisions which is finding favour with the people of the state,’’ he said.
Sunday, 01 December 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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