A look at major controversies surrounding Pauri Garhwal MP
राजनीति

Tirath Singh Rawat resigns as Uttarakhand CM four months after he took charge


In a surprise late-night move, Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat resigned from office just four months after taking over from his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat.

File Image of Tirath Singh Rawat.

In a surprise late-night move, Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat resigned from office just four months after taking over from his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat.

Sources told News18 that the BJP is planning to elect a new legislature head tomorrow. Uttarakhand’s Legislature party meeting is likely to be held in the next 24 to 36 hours.

The Lok Sabha MP from Pauri Garhwal would have had to become a member of the state Assembly before 10 September to continue in office. While there were two vacant Assembly seats in Uttarakhand — Gangotri and Haldwani — there are doubts over whether bypolls will be held as the term of the current Assembly is slated to end in March, less than a year from now.

It has also been reported that scathing criticism by the courts of the string of elections held during the coronavirus pandemic may also contribute to the EC decision on Uttarakhand bypolls.

Tirath Singh Rawat was sworn-in as CM on 10 March less than four months ago. But ever since his appointment as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, he has been surrounded with controversies be it the outcry over some of statements to his government’s handling of the Kumbh Mela during the COVID-19 pandemic to his remarks over “torn jeans” or a public spat involving him and former chief minister Tivendra Singh Rawat.

Here’s taking a look at some of the controversies surrounding Tirat Singh Rawat since his appointment as Uttarakhand CM: 

  • Remarks on ‘ripped jeans’: Tirath Singh had also received flak from various quarters for his comments on ‘ripped jeans’. Just days after assuming office, Tirath Singh had said at an event that youngsters follow strange fashion trends due to a lack of values and consider themselves to be big shots after wearing jeans ripped at the knees. Women also follow such trends, he said and went on to describe the attire of a woman who sat next to him on a flight.Tirath Singh Rawat described her as wearing boots, jeans ripped at the knees, bangles in her hands and with two children travelling with her. He also said she runs an NGO, goes out in society and has two children and wondered what values she would give them.

Though he later apologised for his remarks,  he repeated his objection to ripped jeans, saying he has no problem with jeans with but wearing “torn” ones is “not right”.

  • ‘America ensalved India for 200 years’: At an event on International Forests Day in Nainital district on 21 March, the Uttarakhand cheif minister made another faux pas when he claimed that America had “enslaved India for 200 years” and ruled the world.

“India is doing better in terms of handling the COVID-19 crisis compared to other countries. America, who enslaved us for 200 years and ruled the world, is struggling in current times,” Rawat said, confusing the United States of America with Britain.  “The sun never sets on us, they would say”, Rawat added, clearly confusing America with the British Empire.

  • Comments on families benefitting from govt ration scheme during pandemic: At the same event, he remarked that families with two members were jealous of those having 20 members since the latter benefited most from the government ration scheme during the pandemic. As per The Indian Express, in the speech that was later taken off his Facebook account, Rawat said the difference in allocation of rations had created “jalan (jealousy)”. He went on to say that “but then many were jealous why I got 10 kilograms and why another one having 20 members got 100 kilograms (ration). Why (small families) are jealous? Why you did not have (more) kids when there was time?”

“(Government) assured every family gets 5 kilograms of ration per unit (during Covid time). The families which had 10 members got 50 kilograms. Those having 20 members got 100 kilograms and those families having 2 members got 10 kilograms. People stored ration and even sold it. The quality of rice was superb and people didn’t (expect) it,” the chief minister said.

  • Comparing Modi  to Lord Ram and Krishna: According to the Indian Express,  at an event in Haridwar on 14 March, comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lord Rama and Krishna, Tirath Singh said that Modi will be admired like Ram and Krishna in the future. He further said that in modern times, world leaders queue up for their turn to get a picture with Modi unlike earlier when Indian prime minister and president had been standing away and could not move around.
  • Decision to hold Kumbh Mela: The Uttarakhand chief minister had also come under fire for his government’s decision to hold the Kumbh Mela at a time when other states were looking at containment measures following a fresh surge in coronavirus cases. According to the Indian Express, Tirath Singh had told BJP workers that he had taken up the issue of restrictions in Haridwar with officers. When the officers cited the Centre’s guidelines, Tirath said he would answer to Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda on this.

Rawat had reportedly said: “Nobody will be stopped in the name of COVID-19 as we are sure the faith in God will overcome the fear of the virus.” Just two days after making the remarks, the CM tested positive for COVID-19 on 23 March.

 

  • ‘No comparison between Markaz and Kumbh’: Soon after the Kumbh Mela emerged as a supers-spreader eventTirath Singh had said there is no comparison between the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi and the Kumbh in Haridwar as the former was held in a closed phase while the latter was in a vast open area and the devotees and akhadas come at different times. The Kumbh Mela emerged as a super-spreader event and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the religious congregation should only see symbolic participation due to the COVID-19 crisis. In May, the Uttarakhand High Court had slammed the state government for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and for allowing religious events like the Kumbh amid the second wave.

 “The devotees attending Kumbh are not from outside but our own people,” he had said. “Most importantly, Kumbh is at the bank of the river Ganga. Maa Ganga’s blessings are there in the flow. So there should be no corona,” he had said, according to news agency ANI.

  • Fake tests scam during Kumbh Mela: Over two months after the religiuos congregation took place, reports emerged that a large number of fake COVID-19 tests had been conducted during the Kumbh Mela. The state government ordered the Haridwar district administration to file an FIR against the company and two private labs hired to conduct the tests. Meanwhile, the chief minister maintained that the scam dates back before his term. He said that the decision to rope in private firms to conduct COVID-19 tests during the Kumbh Mela was taken before he took over as the chief minister. Tirath Singh became the chief minister of the state on 10 March while the Kumbh Mela was held from 1 to 30 April. Meanwhile, his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat demanded an impartial probe into the scam by a high court judge. The alleged scam is being probed by a Special Investigation Team.
  • Decision to hold Chardham Yatra: Most recently, the Uttarakhand government on 30 June moved the Supreme Court, challenging the high court’s stay on the Char Dham Yatra. It postponed the yatra till further orders on Tuesday, according to ANI. However, earlier on Tuesday, despite the high court putting a stay, the state government had issued a fresh set of COVID-19 related guidelines for the pilgrimage and made COVID negative report mandatory for those undertaking the yatra.

Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma had stayed the decision to permit residents of Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts to visit Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The court had rejected the state government’s SOPs, saying they were just a copy of the guidelines issued during the Kumbh Mela.

The state government on Friday canceled the annual Kanwar Yatra to Haridwar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reported ANI.

With inputs from agencies





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