Dhami, a law graduate in human resource management and industrial relations, is also a member of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly from the Khatima constituency in Udham Singh Nagar district. He became the youngest Chief Minister of Uttarakhand at the age of 45. The change of guard came a day after Tirat Singh Rawat resigned from the post amid backbiting and disappearing chances of his getting elected to the state Legislative Assembly by September 10.
Pushkar Singh Dhami, who was born in the Kanalichhina area of Pithoragarh in 1975, will be the third chief minister in a short span of just 116 days in Uttarakhand. Dhami has been the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Karyakarta and its affiliate bodies for more than 30 years. He was also a member of the RSS’ student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for 10 years and worked in Uttar Pradesh’s Awadh region during the period.
The relatively young politician from the Kumaon of the state, Dhami has been the president of the BJP’s Uttarakhand Yuva Morcha twice from 2002 to 2008. He also held the post of vice-chairman with state minister rank of the urban monitoring committee in the state. He is the son of a former Indian Army personnel, Dhami was an officer on special duty (OSD) to now Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari when he became chief minister of Uttarakhand in 2001 after the replacement of the first chief minister Nityanand Swami. Dhami played an active role in the BJP’s affairs when Koshiyari became the president of the state unit of the party in 2002.
Dhami was pushed into the election by his mentor Koshiyari in 2012. He contested the polls successfully from the Khatima assembly seat. Dhami is also reportedly close to defence minister Rajnath Singh. The BJP lost the Uttarakhand assembly election by just one seat under the leadership of BC Khanduri when he first became an MLA for the first time in 2012. Dhami retained his Khatima seat in 2017 when the BJP came to power in the hills winning 57 seats in the 70-member House.
The name of Dhami, considered close to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, was declared after the 57 Uttarakhand BJP MLAs met at the party headquarters in the capital Dehradun. Dhami’s name was proposed by outgoing Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat and Mr Kaushik and seconded by a number of MLAs, including former Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, Union Minister Tomar. No other name was proposed.
Soon after he was elected the BJP legislature party leader, Dhami headed for the Raj Bhawan along with a number of MLAs and the central observers to stake his claim to form the government. He took oath as Chief Minister on Sunday, the Uttarakhand Raj Bhavan confirmed. Soon after being elected as leader of the legislature party, Dhami thanked the BJP leadership for reposing faith in him and said he will deal with the challenges lying ahead with everyone’s cooperation.
The names of nearly half a dozen MLAs had done the rounds as probable candidates for the top job, including that of Satpal Maharaj, Dhan Singh Rawat, besides Dhami. A section of party leaders also recommended former Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Tirath Singh Rawat, till then an MP, was sworn in as Chief Minister in March following fierce dissent against Trivendra Singh Rawat. To keep the post, however, Rawat had to win an assembly seat by September 10.
Pushkar Singh Dhami, paddled a controversy even before he took oath because of a map of India he tweeted six years ago. The map, purportedly showing “Akhand Bharat (undivided India)” at some point in history, had missed out on key parts of present-day India. Twitter users lost no time in digging out the post, pointing out that the Indian map, demarcated by a white line on the red “Akhand Bharat” background, left out parts of Ladakh and the areas currently occupied by Pakistan. Falsification of the Indian map has landed many in trouble. Most recently, two police cases were filed against Twitter for carrying the distorted version on its website. Last year, Twitter had depicted Leh as part of China.
In February, the government had called out the World Health Organisation or WHO over the “wrong depiction” of India’s map on its website. The world’s top health body later put a disclaimer on its website. He was trolled on social media but that did not stop him to take up his high chair. Dhami, the state’s third Chief Minister in four months, took oath on Sunday.
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