DEHRADUN: A long-time RSS pracharak, the BJP’s Trivendra Singh Rawat, 56, today took over as the ninth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, the state that he had campaigned should be carved out of Uttar Pradesh back in the nineties. The BJP had swept the hill state in the state elections with 57 of the 70 seats in the state; Mr Rawat is said to have played a key role in the party’s strategy in the victory. He was unanimously elected at the party legislature meeting on Friday; his name formally proposed by BJP leader Prakash Pant and seconded by Satpal Maharaj, the two BJP leaders in the race for the top post in the government.
Mr Rawat was sworn in at Dehradun’s Parade Ground in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
He has inducted a nine-member team – nine of them holding cabinet rank – that took oath along soon after. It includes Satpal Maharaj, who had joined the party on the eve of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the Congress, kept a low profile for two years but was in contention for the top post.
Also in the Cabinet is Prakash Pant, another chief ministerial aspirant who had been camping in Delhi for days. During the elections, PM Modi had addressed an election rally in Pithoragarh, the seat from where the lawmaker had contested.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had praised Mr Rawat on Friday saying, “Trivendra Singh Rawatji ne kabhi apni nishtha nahin badli” (Rawat never switched his loyalty). But loyalty isn’t the only reason he is in. The Uttarakhand Chief Minister has the confidence of the RSS leaders and BJP President Amit Shah. Mr Rawat had helped Mr Shah deliver Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh; Mr Shah was the state in-charge and Mr Rawat his deputy.