Uttarakhand minister Harak Singh Rawat was on Sunday removed from the state Cabinet, and his primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party was revoked for six years ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections, reported PTI.
Party spokesperson Shadab Shams told PTI that the move sends a strong message that the BJP does not tolerate indiscipline and does not bow to pressure of any kind.
Last month, Rawat, who held the forest and environment, labour, employment and skill development portfolios in the Pushkar Singh Dhami Cabinet, had threatened to resign during a Cabinet meeting, reported The Indian Express.
He was reportedly upset over the state government’s lack of approval for setting up a medical college in Kotdwar area, which he represents as an MLA, according to the newspaper.
Unidentified officials also told The Indian Express that Rawat was seeking a party ticket for a relative in the upcoming Assembly polls and had in the past suggested that he might try to join the Congress.
He is likely to join the Congress at 12 pm on Monday in the presence of former Chief Minister Harish Rawat and party’s Uttarakhand chief Ganesh Godiyal, according to India Today.
Harak Rawat was one of the Congress MLAs who had rebelled against Harish Rawat and joined the the BJP in 2016.
He had won his first Assembly election in 1991 on a BJP ticket from Pauri and served as the youngest minister in the Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh. He had later joined the Bahujan Samaj Party.
In 1998, Harak Rawat joined the Congress after the Bahujan Samaj Party denied him ticket for the polls. He then got elected as an MLA from Lansdowne in 2002 and 2007. He was the Leader of Opposition in Uttarakhand between 2007 and 2012.
Uttarakhand will go to polls on February 14. The results will be declared on March 10.