The BJP’s central leadership has taken amiss statements made by two former Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand — Trivendra Singh Rawat and Tirath Singh Rawat — criticising the current Pushkar Dhami-led BJP government, summoning State unit chief Mahendra Bhat to Delhi to ask him to enforce some inner-party discipline among the flock in the State.
Mr. Bhat has been asked to speak to both former Chief Ministers and urge them to voice their opinion within party fora and not in public and press. “Being senior leaders they should know that whatever concerns they may have over the Dhami government should be discussed on forums provided by the party rather than give out public statements,” said a senior party functionary in Delhi.
BJP MP Tirath Singh Rawat, who was the State’s Chief Minister briefly before being replaced by Mr. Dhami in the run-up to the 2021 Assembly election, had recently raised eyebrows with his reported comments that no work could be done in the State without paying commission.
An undated video of him making the purported comments had surfaced. Though he was heard saying that no one in particular can be held responsible for this, his remarks embarrassed the party as it is in power in the State.
“ Commissionkhori [bribe] was a practice prevalent in Uttar Pradesh and unfortunately, it continues in Uttarakhand,” he said. Uttarakhand was a part of Uttar Pradesh before it became a separate State.
His predecessor Mr. Trivendra Singh Rawat had also recently expressed concerns over corruption. Taking cognisance of their comments, party sources said the central leadership has discussed the issue with State president Bhat.
The comments by the two Rawats, though, are also being seen as a reflection of internal differences within the party’s rank of senior leaders in the State. Mr. Dhami’s government has already been buffeted by the recruitment scandal and the murder of teen Ankita Bhandari in which relatives of a BJP leader have been implicated.