The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday announced that Colonel (retired) Ajay Kothiyal will be its chief ministerial candidate for the 2022 Uttarakhand Assembly elections. The polls are expected to b held in the first quarter of the next year.

Kotiyal, who is a former Indian Army officer, has also served as the former principal of the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at Uttarkashi, reported The Times of India. He joined the AAP on April 20.

“If voted to power, the AAP will make Uttarakhand the global spiritual capital for Hindus, increase employment opportunities for the youth,” AAP National Convener Arvind Kejriwal said. “We will develop the ‘devbhoomi [land of gods]’ in a manner that 10 times more devotees can come here.”

The AAP leaders said that when politicians were “looting” the state, Kothiyal was protecting India’s border. “The people of Uttarakhand took this make Ajay Kotiyal the chief ministerial candidate [of AAP].”

Kotiyal said he was proud to accept the offer from Kejriwal. “Today, if we speak about the development of Uttarakhand...then at the frontline is the political space. This is an opportunity to get into governance and develop a model that bring a change we want to see in Uttarakhand.”

The former Indian Army official also spoke about working during the 2013 Kedarnath floods. The natural disaster that hit the region after continuous rain and a cloudburst between June 15 and June 17, 2013, killed thousands of residents and caused an estimated economic damage worth thousands of crores.