BJP lets Pushkar Dhami to continue as Uttarakhand CM despite losing own seat

Pushkar Singh Dhami | FIle photo

Dehradun: Before the Uttarakhand assembly polls, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had compared Pushkar Singh Dhami to cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhami, he said, was a “good finisher”, suggesting that he will get the BJP the runs it needed to win the election.

While making the cricketing analogy Rajnath Singh reportedly said Dhami was working relentlessly as the CM and needed also to play a test match.

On Monday, the Bharatiya Janata Party picked him for the CM's post again, this time for the longer version of the game. It was a difficult decision as Dhami had failed to win his own seat even as the party scored big in the hill state.

Dhami was plucked out of obscurity by the BJP last July and made the Uttarakhand chief minister, with just months to go before the state elections. He also happened to be the third leader to occupy the CM's post during 2021. Earlier in the year, Trivendra Singh Rawat had to make way for Tirath Singh Rawat.

Dhami seemed to have justified the party's confidence in him. The BJP won Uttarakhand again, the first time in the state's 21-year history that a party has come to power for a second term in a row.

But in his own Khatima constituency, Dhami lost by a slim margin of about 6,500 votes.

At 45, he was the state's youngest chief minister when he first took over in July. The state was then grappling with a series of problems and with elections just round the corner Dhami had little time to prove himself.

The state's economy was battered by Covid, the Char Dham priests were agitating against a new regulatory board, and a massive Covid testing scam had hit the headlines earlier.

Like other BJP chief ministers, Dhami styled himself as the one who executed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “grand vision” for the state's development through a “double-engine” government.

Dhami is often regarded as a protégé of Maharashtra Governor and former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari, whom he served as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) and an adviser.

He began his political career in 1990 with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the BJP and was the state president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha twice. He campaigned for reservation of jobs in industries for the local youth.

Dhami's father retired as a subedar in Army. He was born in Pithoragarh's Tundi village, after the family shifted there from its ancestral village Harkhola. When he was in class 5, they moved to Khatima, which was to become Dhami's ‘karmabhoomi' later. He won the assembly polls from there twice.

He graduated from Lucknow University in Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations, and also has a degree in law.


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