The BJP's decision to remove Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat marks a break from its norm of ignoring any call from state satraps against its choice of chief ministers and is driven by the realisation that his continuation may cost it the state like the indifferent image of Raghubar Das led to its defeat in Jharkhand in 2020.
With the hilly state heading for the assembly polls early next year, the BJP top brass paid heed to growing complaints against Rawat from a section of MLAs, including many heavyweights who had joined it quitting the Congress, about his indifference to their concerns and also the fact that his public image remained unimpressive.
The BJP legislature party will pick its new leader on Wednesday, and Rawat's replacement is set to be a choice of its central leadership which had earlier elicited views of its state MLAs by sending its vice president Raman Singh and general secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam there.
If the party decides to replace its outgoing Thakur chief minister with another Thakur, the most populous caste in the state, then minister Dhan Singh Rawat and Satpal Maharaj are being seen among the likely choices, while Anil Baluni and Ajay Bhatt, both MPs and Brahmins, are also being considered as frontrunners.
With a view to balance the aspirations of Garhwal and Kumaon regions, the party may also go for a deputy chief minister, sources said.
Trivendra Singh Rawat, who resigned on Tuesday, has become the first chief minister to be axed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the party's preeminent leader in 2014.
Often in the past, the party had snubbed any lobbying by state MLAs against incumbent chief minister while preferring to keep a sharper vigil on the state government's works.However, the loss in Jharkhand despite what the party believes had been good work by the state government headed by Das has apparently made it rethink its strategy. Whether this will embolden dissidents in other states ruled by the party remains to be seen.