Supporters of former CMs Nishank, Trivendra, Tirath upset over Garhwal being ‘neglected’.


New Delhi: The BJP may have to face the anger of its own leaders in Uttarakhand’s Garhwal division due to “regional imbalance”. The party high command appointed Pushkar Singh Dhami as chief minister who happens to be from Khatima in Kumaon’s plain area. Similarly, Ajay Bhatt of Nainital was given a ministerial berth in the central cabinet. This way, Garhwal remained neglected. Former CMs Trivendra Singh Rawat and Tirath Singh Rawat, who were removed from the posts, are from Garhwal. Moreover, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who was also relieved of his ministerial responsibilities, belongs to the same Garhwal division.

Now, the neglect of the Garhwal region is gradually turning into a political issue, with the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) trying to cash in on it. Trivendra, Tirath and Nishank are said to have a stronghold on the Garhwal region. Though these leaders are unlikely to leave the party, their supporters, who are upset, may create problems for the BJP. All the three leaders had worked for the party at a time when BJP and Jan Sangh were short of workers in the hill regions of the state where Congress used to be a dominant political party. Trivendra had joined Sangh from a very young age. By dint of hard work, he managed to get a position in the party.

Similarly, Tirath Singh Rawat had also started off his political career since student life. Nishank began his career as a journalist at Paudi and got associated with Sangh. This is how Nishank began his political journey. He defeated a stalwart Shivanand Nautiyal in the 1990s and became an MLA. After that Nishank never looked back. He first became CM of Uttarakhand once and was then appointed cabinet minister. Unfortunately, all these three leaders could not complete their term as CM. Nishank had quit as CM after being appointed cabinet minister. Apart from his parliamentary constituency Haridwar, Nishank has tremendous clout in Pauri-Garhwal. Coincidentally, the home district of Trivendra Rawat and Tirath Rawat is Garhwal. The Garhwal division accounts for 41 out of the total 70 assembly seats in Uttarakhand. In view of the importance of this region, the opposition parties are trying to woo the disgruntled supporters of the trio. Congress and AAP are trying to make the “neglect of Garhwal” a big issue. AAP may try to raise this issue in a big way as its CM candidate Ajay Kothiyal hails from the Garhwal division.

BJP strategists are aware that the party may face some challenges in the region. With this in view, the high command may give organizational responsibilities to Nishank, Trivendra Singh Rawat and Tirath Singh Rawat. The graph of BJP has gone a bit upward since the time of Covid pandemic when the saffron party’s image had declined a little bit. Still going is tough for the BJP. The battle will be tough for BJP if there is a direct contest with the Congress. A triangular contest will benefit the BJP. BJP is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Uttarakhand electoral battle as the party does not have any local leader. Chief Minister Dhami is also not in a position to do anything without the Centre’s help. It’s a big challenge for the BJP to please the disgruntled workers.