Pushkar Singh Dhami, a two-time MLA from Khatima in Udham Singh Nagar, will be Uttarakhand’s third chief minister in four months.
Giving preference to youth over experience, BJP named the 45-year-old as the 11th chief minister of the state, replacing Tirath Singh Rawat.
Dhami will be the youngest to take over the CM’s chair in the 21-year history of the Himalayan state.
Sources said that by naming Dhami, the saffron party has tried to strike a balance between two key factors in Uttarakhand politics — the Thakur-Brahmin equation and the Garhwal-Kumaon factor. “Both Tirath Rawat as well as state BJP chief Madan Kaushik represent Garhwal. With the two key posts having been in Garhwal’s kitty, BJP has now preferred a leader from Kumaon area to strike a balance and send a message to the electorate in Kumaon,” a source said, adding that the choice also balances the caste dynamics as Kaushik is a Brahmin while Dhami is a Thakur. “The choice of Dhami is intended to keep Thakurs — a sizeable part of the electorate — happy ahead of the forthcoming state elections,” the source added.
Pushkar Singh Dhami’s name was proposed in the BJP legislature party meeting in the afternoon by outgoing chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat. State BJP chief Madan Kaushik extended support to the proposal and it was unanimously approved by the ministers and MLAs. The oathtaking ceremony of the new chief minister is likely to take place on Sunday. “I am aware that I have limited time but I want to assure everyone that I will make all possible efforts to work for the welfare of people. Our party has taken major decisions in the last four years and I will continue the good work of my predecessors,” he said, adding that he has been a part of youth politics and his focus would be on youth welfare. The new CM, observers said, will have his work cut out trying to work in tandem with senior party functionaries, many of whom were in the race for the CM’s post. Having had no experience of working as a minister, he will have to quickly learn the ropes and strike a rapport with party members as well as the cadre in Garhwal region, where he is relatively unknown.