Dhami rewarded for steady hands despite individual loss

He is a new batch of leadership that came up, in his case, in rather dire circumstances for BJP, after Uttarakhand saw 3 CMs in 2021

March 21, 2022 08:38 pm | Updated March 22, 2022 07:30 am IST - NEW DELHI

Pushkar Singh Dhami. File

Pushkar Singh Dhami. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The BJP's choice of repeating Pushkar Singh Dhami as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand despite him losing his own seat, Khatima, in the recent Assembly polls is a nod to the fact that he brought in, in his short tenure before polls were called, some stability in the notoriously fractious State unit of the BJP and was at the helm when the party broke the history of alternation in the State.

Mr Dhami, 46, is a new batch of leadership that came up, in his case, in rather dire circumstances for the party, after the State saw three Chief Ministers in a single year in 2021 - Trivendra Singh Rawat, Tirath Singh Rawat and Mr. Dhami himself - so close to the polls.

Steady rise in BJP ranks

Born in Pithoragarh, he has had a steady rise in the BJP ranks since his student days, nearly three decades of it as first as a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the RSS, through whom he worked in the Awadh area of Uttar Pradesh. He was also associated with the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP between 2002-2008, while at the same time serving as an Officer on Special Duty to then Chief Minister and current Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, who also groomed him for leadership.

He was first elected MLA, from Khatima in 2012 and repeated the feat in 2017, failing to do so in 2022. Belonging to the Thakur community, Mr. Dhami had to balance not just the various factions within the party in Uttarakhand but competing ambitions and resentments created within the Hindutva elements in the State over the Chardham Devasthanam Board, passed by Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat's government in 2019, which sought to extend government control over more than 50 Hindu shrines. Mr. Dhami formed a commission to look into the issue and promptly acted on its advise of scrapping it. For managing a unified fight, despite the exit of senior BJP leader Harak Singh Rawat, Mr. Dhami has been rewarded with a second term, despite not winning his own seat. A reversal of precedent in the BJP.

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