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Tuesday 13 March 2012

Cong factional feud intensifies, Harak supports Rawat

Cong factional feud intensifies, Harak supports Rawat

Dehra Dun, Mar 13 (PTI): Factional feud in Congress over the chief ministerial candidate in Uttarakhand on Tuesday deepened with senior party leader Harak Singh Rawat favouring union minister Harish Rawat, saying he would chalk out a new strategy.
"The future of new government in Uttarakhand is very bleak...It can continue only for 10-15 days...Harish Rawat is credited for reviving Congress in Uttarakhand but (Vijay) Bahuguna has no contribution in the state and has been imposed on us," Harak, who was elected as MLA from Rudraprayag, said over phone from New Delhi.
His move to side with Rawat assumes significance since he was also a top contender for the CM's post.
When asked whether the new leader should have been an elected MLA, Harak said, "Yes, the party high command must give weightage to the MLAs first...In case the party high command had to chose from the MPs, then the first right to become the chief minister was of Harish Rawat."
He also indicated that he would boycott the swearing-in ceremony of Bahuguna.
"I will not remain present in the swearing-in ceremony as I am in New Delhi," Harak said.
The decision to nominate Bahuguna is a body blow to the sentiments of the people who wanted a senior party leader to become the chief minister, he claimed.
On whether he was offered a ministerial berth in the Bahuguna cabinet, Rawat said since he had held ministerial ranks in the previous governments and was the leader of the opposition, the ministerial berth was not a big deal for him.
"I want to work as an ordinary MLA and work for the welfare of the people," he said.
Meanwhile, there was an air of jubilation in the rival camp belonging to veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari who welcomed the nomination of Bahuguna as the new chief minister.
"Bahuguna is an MP from Tehri and is a very experienced leader," Tiwari told reporters in Dehra Dun as his supporters began celebrating what they call the "defeat" of the Rawat camp.
Tiwari's rivalry with Rawat is decades old and the former chief minister is understood to have opposed the candidature of Rawat tooth and nail.
In 2002, supporters of Rawat had burnt effigies and raised slogans against Tiwari soon after he was nominated as chief minister of the hill state.
The clincher for the nomination of Bahuguna came after senior Congress leader Satpal Maharaj, some independents and supporters of Tiwari joined hands to oppose Rawat and favoured Bahuguna.
Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Yashpal Arya, a protege of Tiwari, also welcomed the nomination of Bahuguna and said the party high command has taken the decision with "due thoughts and care".
"I welcome the decision as Bahuguna is an experienced politician," said Arya, who was also a top contender for the post of chief minister.

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