Change of plans
Sir — It was hardly surprising when the chief minister of Uttarakhand, Tirath Singh Rawat, handed over his resignation to the governor, Baby Rani Maurya, within only four months of being appointed, reportedly citing the constitutional provision that requires him to get elected to the assembly within six months of assuming office, and the unlikelihood of the bypolls in the state being held in time on account of the pandemic (“Uttarakhand CM steps down after 4 months”, July 3). In the meantime, Uttarakhand gets Pushkar Singh Dhami as its new chief minister — its third in four months. Dhami, who is the youngest chief minister Uttarakhand has seen till date, expressed his gratitude to prime minister, Narendra Modi, the home minister, Amit Shah, and the Bharatiya Janata Party national president, J.P. Nadda, for giving him this opportunity.
However, Rawat seems to be merely a pawn in the plans of the BJP leadership that wants to show that it stands for the Constitution by sacrificing Rawat instead of forcing the Election Commission to hold the bypolls. This might have been done to set a template to be used against Mamata Banerjee, who is also supposed to contest the bypolls to keep her position as chief minister of West Bengal within the next few months. It is likely that the Election Commission will hold up Rawat’s case as an example for not conducting bypolls in Bengal. This could force Banerjee to step down.
But one should not forget that these two cases are different. Rawat’s mismanagement of the Kumbh Mela and the fake RT-PCR tests scandal during the event could cost him dearly, especially with the Uttarakhand legislative assembly election knocking at the door. On the other hand, Banerjee lost her seat but her party won by a massive mandate. Besides, there are no state elections in the near future, so there is no reason for the bypolls being delayed.
Rawat’s case is a clear example of the myopic vision of the outgoing chief minister and the BJP high command. More so because even though he knew that he would have to be voted to the assembly in six months, neither he nor the party could chalk out an effective plan for this.
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,
Sir — Tirath Singh Rawat’s resignation may prove to be an alarm bell for Bengal’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. Ever since the result of the Bengal elections went against the saffron party, the BJP has been restless — the ruckus inside the assembly during the governor’s address is a recent example. There is a chance that the Election Commission decides to postpone the Bhawanipur bypolls to next year because of the pandemic. After all, nothing is impossible in politics.
Jang Bahadur Singh,
Sir — The change of guard in Uttarakhand may have had the hidden agenda of rattling the leadership in Bengal, but it has also exposed fault lines in the saffron party. Whatever the pretext of Tirath Singh Rawat’s resignation, it reflects poorly on the leader who was chosen by the BJP to govern the state. This would not inspire trust among the people in the new chief minister either.
Besides, the rise of Pushkar Singh Dhami has disappointed many senior leaders in the party — the leadership reportedly had to spend an entire day trying to pacify discontented members, especially those who had switched from the Congress to the BJP. Clearly, then, the saffron party and its members are not devoid of the thirst for power, an image that Rawat’s seemingly selfless gesture tried to project.
Sir — Animals have often been politicized in India — the cow is a prime example. But little effort has been put into actually improving their lives. The Delhi High Court’s decision regarding the right to food of stray dogs is thus a move in the right direction. The court has now instructed the Animals Welfare Board of India to designate appropriate spots for feeding them. Across India, urban strays, in particular, have become dependent on human beings for sustenance. This makes it all the more important for people to care for these creatures. All states should make similar arrangements for stray animals.