Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, 66, has resigned today, reportedly under pressure from his party, the Congress, to accept responsibility for the shoddy rehabilitation work carried out by his government after last year's flash floods in which nearly a thousand people died, and another 4000 reported missing.
Union minister Harish Rawat, who claims to enjoy the backing of a majority of the Congress lawmakers in the state, is the frontrunner in the race to replace Mr Bahuguna.
Mr Bahuguna's removal has been on the cards for quite some time, and is being viewed as part of the organizational revamp being undertaken by the Congress leadership ahead of the national elections, due by May this year. Uttarakhand sends five members to the Lok Sabha, and the Congress won all in 2009.
Mr Bahuguna was selected as chief minister by his party after the elections in March 2012. The Congress won just one more seat than the BJP, but managed to form the government with the support of a few law-makers from other parties. But popular disaffection against his administration started showing up soon after as he was perceived to be spending most of his time in Delhi. Mr Bahuguna's son, Saket, ran for parliament in a by-election from Tehri in October, 2012. He lost the election, attributed to public anger with his father.