Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami is a two-term MP but long-term RSS worker
the new chief minister from Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami, is relatively young with only two terms in the Assembly. However, he has been associated with RSS for more than three decades – a factor that is said to have tipped the scales in his favor as the BJP sifted through applicants to replace Tirath Singh Rawat.
It is also believed to have the blessings of former CM and current Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, among the many faction-ridden BJP power centers in Uttarakhand.
Born into a middle-class family in the district of Pithorgarh, Dhami, 45, began his association with the Sangh at a young age. As a student he spent 10 years at ABVP, working with the student wing of RSS at the University of Lucknow and other educational institutions in Uttar Pradesh.
A graduate in human resources management and industrial relations, Dhami moved to BJP Yuva Morcha, and for two terms between 2002 and 2008, he was the president of Uttarakhand. BJP chief ministers Ramesh Pohkhriyal Nishank and Major General BC Khanduri (retd) both had Dhami as vice-chairman of the urban surveillance committee with the rank of minister of state.
In 2012, BJP gave him a ticket from Khatima in Udham Singh Nagar district, and he won. Since 2016, he has been vice-president of state. When Dhami won as an MP again in 2017, he was widely tipped for a cabinet post under Trivendra Singh Rawat, but was left out.
Considering that, Dhami was a surprise pick on Saturday. Among the names that had circulated to replace Tirath Singh Rawat, who had to resign after just four months as CM, were several other MPs, including cabinet ministers, former CMs and parliamentarians.
Dhami is considered close to Koshiyari, having been his counselor and social service officer in 2001-2002 when the latter was CM. Sources say Dhami is the man Koshiyari trusts the most in Uttarakhand.
BJP leaders believe that Dhami’s “young and energetic” image would help the party fight the ruling opposition as well as accusations of political instability by the opposition. The BJP had three CMs in four months.
“Dhami worked as the president of the youth wing for eight years. Those who worked on his team at the time are now part of mainstream politics. This support can help galvanize executives, who have relaxed since senior leaders did not move due to the pandemic, ”argued a party leader.
As chairman of the youth wing of the BJP, Dhami had organized protests against unemployment. Speaking to the media after meeting Governor Baby Rani Maurya on Saturday, Dhami said creating employment opportunities for young people would be his goal as CM.
The other factors that worked in Dhami’s favor are that he is a Thakur from the hill region and worked at Khatima in the Kumaon region. In Uttarakhand, the votes are divided between the regions of Kumaon against Garhwal, the Thakurs against the Brahmins and the hills against the plains. Dhami helps the BJP maintain caste balance and regional balance, with BJP state president Madan Kaushik being a Brahmin from Haridwar, which is a Garhwal plain.
In comparison, outgoing CM Tirath Singh Rawat is a Thakur of Garhwal.