His personal defeat in the election was overlooked, Pushkar Singh Dhami was appointed Chief Minister of Uttarakhand on Monday while Pramod Sawant got a job in Goa despite his ambitious colleague Vishwajit Rane, completing the BJP’s bet to retain all four Chief Ministers.
It hints at a “big picture” decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, political observers said. the decision? “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”.
Clearing Mr Dhami for the top post can be seen as an attempt to curb factional divisions within the BJP’s Uttarakhand unit and a vote for stability in the state which saw three Chief Ministers in the last four months of last year.
The state’s youngest chief minister, 46, now needs to win a by -election in the next six months.
“Within six months, Dhami left its mark on Uttarakhand manifested in the election results,” Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, one of the party’s “central observers” to the state, told reporters after announcing Mr Dhami’s election as legislative party chief by the MLA.
The BJP has restored trust in Mr Dhami once again because he knows how to run the government, he said, adding all MLAs unanimously supported him.
The continuity-over-change bet was also matched in Goa, with the BJP electing Pramod Sawant for a second term, ending the 11-day delay and shattering the hopes of former state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane who is seen as a frontrunner for the role of many.
With the BJP amassing 20 of its own seats in a 40 -member Goa rally – less than a full majority, significant independent MLA support is closing down Mr Sawant’s election, sources said.
Mr Sawant has been rewarded for overcoming anti-incumbents and navigating the party towards victory despite resignations by several key figures, including the son of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Under his tenure against the state, the BJP displayed its second best performance – winning 20 seats. The BJP won a direct majority under Mr Parrikar in 2012 when it won 21 seats.
Both Mr Dhami and Mr Sawant got the last green light after a meeting at PM Modi’s residence on Sunday afternoon, the latest in a series of high-powered huddles since the results were announced on March 10, they added.
Two -term MLAs, like Mr Dhami, are considered close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP.
The decision reflects how the BJP central leadership led by PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah appears to be in favor of youth, continuity and the ability to act under pressure ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Although Manipur had gone to incumbent N Biren Singh on Sunday, 10 days after the election results, only Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had an uncontested route ahead of him.
All eyes are now focused on other decisions in Uttar Pradesh – whether Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who is seen closely with PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, will be able to retain his post as well despite losing his seat this time around.