Damage control: Tirath Singh Rawat made national secretary

Age Correspondent With Agency Inputs

India, Politics

Elections on 70 Assembly constituencies in this hill state is scheduled on February 15.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at a press conference with BJP Uttarakhand president Ajay Bhatt in Dehradun. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi/ Dehradun: In a damage control move, the BJP on Saturday named its former Uttarakhand unit chief, Tirath Singh Rawat as party’s national secretary. A sitting MLA from Chaubattakhal, Mr Rawat had been sulking after the party leadership fielded former Congress leader Satpal Maharaj from this key constituency. Elections on 70 Assembly constituencies in this hill state is scheduled on February 15.

Harish Rawat led Congress and the BJP, which is contesting without a chief ministerial candidate this time, will be witnessing straight fight on most of the Assembly seats. Most of the opinion polls have favoured the BJP in Uttarakhand elections.  

The BJP, which has fielded more than a dozen former Congress leaders in this hill state, has been facing cadre’s ire, who have refused to support party’s official candidates on key constituencies including Sitarganj, Kotdwar, Bajpur and Bageshwar. Also, many BJP rebels are contesting as independents. The party had expelled 17 rebels for six years, 11 from Garhwal and six from Kumaon region, after they refused to withdraw their nominations.

BJP state unit was abuzz that the Congress was in touch with Mr Rawat, whose supporters had refused to campaign in favour of Mr Satpal Maharaj.

Interestingly, Mr Satpal Maharaj’s name is also doing the rounds for the chief minister’s post,  if the BJP manages to come back to power. BJP’s state in-charge Shyam Jaju and election-in-charge J.P. Nadda had been camping in Dehradun to pacify sulking leaders and cadre. Both had met Mr Rawat also.

Meanwhile, the BJP on Saturday released its vision document for Uttarakhand which promises a slew of freebies for the education sector including distribution of free laptops and smartphones among meritorious students besides giving a boost to health facilities and making them available to every section of society. The state will go to polls on February 15.

Releasing the vision document, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said BJP is proud of documenting the party’s vision for the development of a state which it created during its last stint in power at the Centre.

“It is a proud moment for BJP to spell out its vision for a state which acquired statehood under NDA as the fulfilment of the long cherished aspiration of the people living in this region,” Mr Jaitley said.

He said the document which envisions clean governance for Uttarakhand is in sync with PM’s commitment.