Uttarakhand Stories

Do Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand lack leadership?

by Hansa Rawat
Aug 26, 2015

As per latest orders released by Nainital High Court President Rule is on hold in Uttarakhand till 31st March where Harish Rawat has to prove his majority to revive his government. The other nine rebels legislatives will also get the chance for voting on 31st March to decide the political scenario of Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat, who is currently amid controversy after a video revelled that his personal secretary Mohammad Shahid was negotiating a bribery deal with middlemen over the liquor licence. Although Shahid has been removed from his post, but the recent development in politics of the state has also raised the question of corruption.

15 Years and 8 Chief Ministers???

Uttarakhand was born on 9 November, 2000 as the 27th state of the country. The state which is going to complete 15 years has been administered by seven Chief Ministers.

Nityanand Swami (9 Nov 2000 – 29 Oct 2001)

Nityanand Swami

Nityanand Swami – 1st Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. Pic Src : The Hindu

The leader of Bhartiya Janta Party, Nityanand Swami became the first CM of Uttarakhand. In an interview, he talked about his development agenda for the newly formed state, “In concrete terms, the developmental agenda would initially focus on three aspects: reaching drinking water to every village, ensuring sufficient power supply to all regions, and implementing compulsory primary education in every nook and corner of the State”. But due to the shuffle in the Chief Minister leadership, he left his position after a period of only 11 months and 30 days. Then, 73-old CM Swami never won a popular election. Actually, he was not even contested one. He was asked by BJP to acquire the seat of CM when he was on the Hardwar-Dehradun graduate constituency seat in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council. The state faced its first Assembly election in 2002 for which BJP proposed the name of B. S. Khosyari for CM. According to some BJP leaders, the proximity of Swami with Congress leader N. D. Tiwari is one of the reasons for his unpopularity.

Bhagat Singh Khoshyari (30 Oct 2001 – 1 Mar 2002)

Bhagat Singh Koshyari

Bhagat Singh Koshyari – 2nd Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. Pic Src: The Hindu

Bhagat Singh Khoshyari replaced Swami on October 30, 2001. But he administered as CM only for 3 months and 29 days. According to political observers Khoshyari was selected on the basis of caste factor, who belongs to Rajput community of Kumaon and in Uttarakhand, Rajput constitutes 60% of the population. Khosyari was basically an educationist with journalist background and founded institutions like Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Pithoragarh, and the Saraswati Vihar Higher Secondary Vidyalaya, Nainital. He was the member of managing committee of the Vivekanand Vidhya Mandir, Pittorgarh. He had also been on the executive council of Kumaon University. Besides being the president of the Uttaranchal BJP between 1997 and 2000, his political achievements include being nominated to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council in 1997, and association with the Uttaranchal Pradesh Sangharsh Samiti between 1988 and 1993. Presently, he is the MP in the 16th Lok Sabha from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar constituency.

N. D. Tiwari (2 Mar 2002 – 7 Mar 2007)

Narayan Dutt Tiwari

Narayan Dutt Tiwari – He was the third C.M of Uttarakhand. Pic Src: The Hindu

India National Congress party leader, N. D. Tiwari swore as the CM on March 2, 2002. In the result of first Assembly election, Congress (I) won 36 seats out of 70; and decided to form the alliance with Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), whereas BJP won only 19 seats. N. D. Tiwari who recently got married in 2014 at the age of 88 years with Ujjawala Sharma after the DNA test proved Rohit Shekhar (34) his biological son. Mr Tiwari has been CM three times in his political career including once in Uttarakhand. In 2002 only after the election result “(Harish) Rawat announced that the party would change the name of the State from Uttaranchal to Uttarakhand, which the original name was given by the movement for a separate State even before it had acquired political undertones”.

Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri (8 Mar 2007 – 23 Jun 2009)

Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri

B.C Khanduri – He was the fourth C.M of Uttarakhand. Pic Src: DNA India

Major Gen (Retd) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri became the fourth CM of the state on March 8, 2007. Khanduri entered into state politics after winning the Lok Sabha polls thrice more in 1998, 1999 and 2004 and became Uttarakhand’s Chief Minister in March 2007.

The BJP has a strength of 34 MLAs and fell short of the majority in the election to the 70-member House by one seat. Although Khanduri was enjoying the support of two independents apart from UKD. But party lost all five seats in Lok Sabha election and dissatisfaction among MLAs supporting Khanduri made the situation unpleasant for him. ‘However, he felt the heat from dissidents within the party and the pro-changers led by former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari bayed for his blood after BJP was routed in the hill state’.

Ramesh Pokhriyal (24 Jun 2009 – 10 Sep 2011)

Ramesh Pokhriyal "Nishank"

Ramesh Pokhriyal – He was the 5th C.M of Uttarakhand. Pic Src: india.gov.in

Then 51-year-old journalist-turned-politician Pokhriyal’s name was proposed by outgoing CM Khanduri and seconded by other contenders. The demand for removal of Khanduri has been constantly raised by Koshiyari. He finally resigned from Rajya Sabha to pressurise the central leadership for a change of guard. Mr Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” remained CM of Uttarakhand for 2 years, 2 months and 17 days. On the eve of 65th Independence Day of India, CM Pokhriyal announced to create four new districts –Didihat, Ranikhet, Kotdwar and Yamnotri; although they are yet to be created officially. But the rise of alleged scams against his government did not let his administration last too long. ‘After two long rounds of talks with Nishank, the BJP top brass convinced him to step down from the post of Chief Minister in the wake of a series of alleged scams against his government.’

Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri (11 Sep 2011 – 13 Mar 2012)

He again acquired the seat of CM on September 11, 2011. Khanduri replaced Nishank “in an apparent bid by BJP to lift its sagging image following corruption charges and intra-party feuds in the State ahead of Assembly polls”. The former CM of the state, Khanduri is also tangled into the land scam in which a land in Rishikesh worth Rs 400 crores was sold for Rs 13 crores to a Delhi-based realtor, Studia Developers Private Limited.

Vijay Bahugana (14 Mar 2012 – 31 Jan 2014)

Vijay bahuguna

Vijay bahuguna – He was the 6th C.M of Uttarakhand. Pic Src : Topnews.in

After the third Assembly election, the Indian National Congress formed the government in Uttrakhand. In 2012 election, Congress won over BJP by one seat. Vijay Bahuguna is the son of former UP Chief Minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and brother of UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna. He is also the first cousins of BJP leader BC Khanduri. Bahugana had been lost in 1984 UP election from Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan. He started his career as an advocate in Allahabad High Court and later became the judge of Allahabad High Court and transferred to Bombay High Court as a judge. Bahugana remained as CM for 1 year, 10 months and 17 days of the time period and later had been replaced by Harish Rawat. “Going by the behaviour of the chieftains, we doubt the smooth functioning of the next Government — unless someone with a magic wand takes over and leads the State from deprivation to sustained development,” observed several senior Congress party leaders after the election results.

Harish Rawat (1 Feb 2014 – )

Harish Rawat

Harish Rawat – He has been the 7th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand since February 2014 Pic Src: Dailymail

The current Chief Minister of the state is Mr Harish Rawat who is a leader of Indian National Congress party, who replaced former CM Vijay Bahugana on February 1, 2014. The former CM Bahugana had been under fire because of his poor handling of relief work after floods in June 2013. On his resignation, Bahugana replied, “I feel great that I got a chance to serve the state”. Rawat served as state president when ND Tiwari was chief minister between 2002 and 2007. Rawat has previously served as Union Minister of Water Resources during the tenure of PM Manmohan Singh.

Rawat revolted against the selection of Bahugana as Chief Minister following part’s win in the assembly election. Since then, 17 out 32 party legislators had refused to take oath as members of the assembly. Back then, the Congress high command refused to replace Bahugana. The appointment of Rawat as CM who is from Rajput community now needs a balance of power in the state. To maintain a balance between Rajput and Brahmin, Kumaon and Garhwal, Congress has appointed Kishore Upadhyay as state president who belongs to Brahmin community.

In all these debacle years of Uttarakhand as a state has highlighted the lack of leadership due to which people has to suffer. It also sparked off the debate whether the state is fit or not to be declared as a Union Territory.

Hansa Rawat

Hansa Rawat

Journalism graduate, Student of Indian Modern History, Avid Reader, Inquisitive, Willingness to learn

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2 Responses


Himanshu Bisht Says

Yeah absolutely Uttrakhand has need for build a strong leadership. We couldn’t get a legend leader after partition from UP , Here Ministers come and make hefty money and depose by self & give chance to their other counterpart . But now Youngester must have take participate in Politics and change the scenario of Uttrakhand .
Let’s make Uk (UnitedKhand).
Thanks & Regards
Himanshu Bisht

YOGESH Says

Indeed the leaders have no vision or plan for the Uttarakhand.The 14th finance commission is recommending to withdraw the special status to Uttarakhand.