20 years, Eight CMs – Story of political instability in Uttarakhand
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Latest News - March 10, 2021

20 years, Eight CMs – Story of political instability in Uttarakhand

It has been two decades since the hill state of Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh. However, the state that has given some of the top officials who are in key positions in administration, governance, and security has always remained politically unstable from the time it came into being.
Since its formation in November 2000, the state has seen eight chief ministers so far – five from the BJP and three from the Congress. With the resignation of Trivendra Singh Rawat on Tuesday, a ninth Chief Minister is to take over the reins of the state. 
Trivendra Singh Rawat became the eighth chief minister of Uttarakhand after the BJP won the 2017 assembly election with 57 MLAs in the 70-member house. Four years down the line, around half of those MLAs have rebelled against Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, and he on Tuesday got his term curtailed.

Political timeline of Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand came into existence as a separate state in November 2000. In 20 years since then, Uttarakhand has seen just one chief minister complete the full tenure of five years.

Narayan Dutt Tiwari

Narayan Dutt Tiwari, who passed away in 2018, led a Congress government that was voted to power in the first assembly election in 2002. The Congress had a slender majority with 36 MLAs in the assembly. But Tiwari steered his government to full term.

Nityanand Swami 

Nityanand Swami of the BJP formed the first government in Uttarakhand after the state was formed and an interim assembly was constituted following the bifurcation of Uttar Pradesh in 2000. Swami stayed in power for 11 days short of one year and four months ahead of the first Uttarakhand Assembly election in 2002. He was replaced by BS Koshyari, the present governor of Maharashtra.

BS Koshyari

Koshyari took over the reins from Nityanand Swami but lost in the 2002 Assembly elections. Major General BC Khanduri was given the chief minister post by the BJP which won 35 of the 70 seats in the elections.

BC Khanduri 

Khanduri remained the chief minister for just two years and four months. He was replaced by Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. Khanduri had launched a massive anti-corruption drive and an austerity campaign besides announcing a powerful Lokayukta bringing every public authority including the chief minister under the proposed bill.

Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’

Nishank remained the chief minister of Uttrakhand for two years and two months. BJP brought back BC Khanduri six months ahead of the Uttarakhand Assembly election in 2012. However, the change of leadership could not help the BJP retain power in Uttarakhand.

Vijay Bahuguna

2012 Assembly election resulted in a hung assembly with the Congress winning 32 seats and the BJP 31. However, with the support of BSP and Uttarakhand Kranti Dal MLA and three Independent legislators, took over powers in the state.
Vijay Bahuguna, who is now in the BJP – his tenure was cut short by the devastating impact of Uttarakhand floods of 2013. He was severely criticised for his handling of the rescue operation and also of the post-disaster rehabilitation and rebuilding processes.

Harish Rawat

Harish Rawat replaced Vijay Bahuguna as Uttarakhand chief minister – two months short of his completing two years tenure as CM. Rawat’s government faced a crisis in 2016 during the state budget presentation when nine Congress MLAs rebelled and sought a division of votes on the Budget. The speaker refused, and the Budget was passed.
President’s Rule was imposed in the state on March 27, 2016. Twenty-five days later, the Harish Rawat government returned after the Uttarakhand High Court struck down President’s Rule.
On April 21-22, Harish Rawat was out of power again with the Supreme Court staying the high court judgment. His government was reinstated on May 11 again after Harish Rawat won a floor test that was ordered and monitored by the Supreme Court. Harish Rawat remained Uttarakhand chief minister for 311 days in his third term.

Trivendra Singh Rawat 

Trivendra Singh Rawat had the longest continuous stay in power in Uttarakhand after Narayan Dutt Tiwari. He faced the charges of corruption and nepotism not from his rivals but his own party leaders and MLAs. This came after the Uttarakhand High Court in October 2020 ordered a probe against him in a case of corruption.

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