Moneycontrol PRO
you are here: HomeNewsPolitics

How Tirath Singh Rawat's exit has turned the spotlight on Mamata Banerjee

Banerjee, who took oath as the West Bengal Chief Minister on May 5, despite losing to her former close aide BJP candidate Suvendu Adhkari by 1956 votes, has to get elected to the West Bengal Assembly before November 5, as per the rule.

July 03, 2021 / 03:54 PM IST

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Tirath Singh Rawat resigned as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand  on July 2, four months after replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat.

While the development primarily means that BJP has to choose a new Chief Minister for the Himalayan state where it is in power, it has also turned the spotlight on Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Why? Because Banerjee, like Rawat, is not an elected member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), a mandatory condition for a Chief Minister or a Minister in any state.

READ: BJP to choose new Uttarakhand CM today after Tirath Singh Rawat's exit

As per the rules, Rawat, who assumed office of the CM on March 10, had to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of Uttarakhand in six months which is before September 10. Likewise, Banerjee, who took oath as the West Bengal Chief Minister on May 5, has to get elected to the West Bengal Assembly before November 5.

Close

While TMC secured a thumping majority in the West Bengal Assembly polls, the results of which were announced on May 2, Banerjee lost to her former close aide BJP candidate Suvendu Adhkari by 1956 votes. Banerjee has moved the Calcutta high court challenging  Adhikari’s victory. The court has reserved its judgment in the matter.

Rawat, a Member of Parliament (MP) from Garhwal in Uttarakhand, was handpicked by the central leadership as the new Chief Minister on March 10 when his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat had to quit amid reports of disquiet within the BJP state unit.

Like Rawat, Banerjee is also bound by the rule according to which any minister (or CM) ceases to be the minister (or the CM) if he or she is not elected to the Legislative Assembly of the state within six months of assuming the charge.

Earlier this week, West Bengal government urged the Election Commission (EC) to conduct pending by-polls in the state at the earliest. The government, according to a PTI report, gave assurance that all COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to during the process.

READ: Centre, Mamata Banerjee spar over dubious COVID-19 vaccination camps in West Bengal

On June 23,  Banerjee had told reporters that by-polls due in the state could be held within seven days as the COVID-19 situation in the country is currently "under control". The West Bengal Chief Minister might contest from Bhawanipore, one of the seven seats where elections are set to be held in  the state.

If not elected to the Legislative Assembly until November 5, Banerjee would cease to be the Chief Minister. Under such circumstances, she may have to choose her successor who has to be a member of Legislative Assembly, or has to be one in six months of assuming the office.

Also, read:  BJP sets goal of winning over 60 seats in 2022 Uttarakhand Assembly polls

There is one difference between the two cases, though. In Uttarakhand, Rawat quit since by-polls due on two seats, could not be held before September 10 because the assembly polls are scheduled in the state in less than a year.

In West Bengal, where the new government under Banerjee assumed office in May, no such clause will come into play as assembly polls are almost five year away.

(With PTI inputs)
Gulam Jeelani is a journalist with over 11 years of reporting experience. Based in New Delhi, he covers politics and governance for Moneycontrol.

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections
ISO 27001 - BSI Assurance Mark