Following protests surrounding Ankita Bhandari’s murder case, the BJP is likely to make changes in the Uttarakhand government and also the party’s state unit, reported The Indian Express, quoting sources. The report also claims that amid the changes, Pushkar Dhami will likely continue to be the Chief Minister.
BJP’s national leadership is keen to “resolve the issues soon” in Uttarakhand, as the party does not want “sore thumb” or “troubles” in one of its politically and ideologically significant states. The party’s national general secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh is currently putting up in the state to “take stock” by meeting leaders from different camps in the faction-hit state unit, according to IE.
Santhosh also had a detailed meeting with Dhami during his visit to Delhi. IE’s sources have reported that Dhami wants to keep the “disturbing elements” at bay and might affect a Cabinet reshuffle soon and likely changes could happen in the party’s state unit as well. However, it is unlikely that Mahendra Bhatt, who took over in July as BJP state president, would be changed.
During his last visit, the Uttarakhand CM could not meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah but they discussed the issues in the state over telephone, IE reported, citing sources. Besides Dhami, several senior BJP leaders, including former chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, senior leaders Dhan Singh Rawat and Satpal Maharaj, have also met party’s central leaders and given their accounts on the current state of affairs in the Uttarakhand unit.
The Ankita Bhandari case at a time when the state was already reeling under a political crisis over the recruitment scam, which also involved BJP leaders.
Ankita worked as a receptionist at the Vanantra resort near Laxman Jhula area in Uttarakhand and went missing for a week. Her body was recovered on September 24 from the Chila canal. Pulkit Arya, son of BJP leader Vinod Arya, is named the main accused, and two others – manager and assistant manager – were arrested in connection with the case. Following a massive political row, Vinod Arya and his other son, who is also with the BJP, were expelled from the party.
Dhami was first appointed CM six months before the state elections earlier this year, replacing Tirath Rawat, following protests from the state unit. In March 2021, Rawat was appointed, replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat.