The fate of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat remains uncertain even as he met top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders – party chief JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the future course of action.
COVID-19 pandemic played a spoiler for Rawat as Assembly by-elections have not yet been scheduled. Rawat is currently a Lok Sabha MP and as per the rules he needs to be sworn in as an elected MLA within six months of taking over as the chief minister.
Top sources in BJP stated that Rawat might be asked to step down as CM and work to strengthen the party on the ground.
Sources said that in the meeting late on Wednesday, 30 June, Nadda explained to Rawat that Section 151 of Representation of the People Act, 1951 has created hindrance in his election to state Assembly.
"In an hour-long meeting, all the possibilities were discussed and Rawat was explained about Section 151 of Act which says that by-election must be held within six months of a vacancy occurring. Nadda also explained that the section also provided two exceptions for not holding by-elections – if the remainder of the term in relation to the vacancy is less than a year or if the Election Commission, in consultation with the Centre, certifies that it is difficult to hold the by-election within the said period," a party insider said.
Rawat was summoned by the BJP's national leadership and reached Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the situation after three days of 'Chintan Shivir' of the party's Uttarakhand unit.
Sources said that Rawat is willing to contest the bypolls to become an MLA to continue as chief minister till next year's Assembly polls but the central leadership explained to him that it will be difficult to hold bypolls within the six-month period as the poll body has stalled the poll process due to the pandemic.
An insider said that after the midnight meeting between Nadda, Shah, and Rawat, it seems that the message is loud and clear to the chief minister that it will be difficult for him to continue in office.
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