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Uttarakhand

Posted at: Apr 16, 2017, 12:27 AM; last updated: Apr 16, 2017, 12:27 AM (IST)

Leaders’ salvos bring Cong factionalism out in open

SMA Kazmi

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, April 15

After a humiliating defeat in the state Assembly elections held last month, the infighting in the Uttarakhand Congress has come to the fore with senior party leaders firing salvos at each other. Senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition Indira Hridayesh has hit out against former Chief Minister Harish Rawat for leading the party to a disastrous election defeat. Speaking at Haridwar on Friday, Hridayesh said it was indeed a “black day” for the party since former Chief Minister Harish Rawat who had fought elections on two Assembly seats and lost both the seats in the recently concluded Assembly polls.

Former Chief Minister Harish Rawat was quick to react. In a statement, he said that he had already owned all the responsibility for the electoral debacle. He further said if the party felt that it was not sufficient he was willing to face any punishment. However, he did not hesitate to hit out at Indira Hridayesh and state Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay. He said it was now up to Hridayesh and Upadhyay to take the Congress party out of ‘darkness’.

The differences between Hridayesh and Harish Rawat become evident when the former Chief Minister tried to persuade the party central leadership to appoint Karan Mahra, his own close kin as leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly instead of Indira Hridayesh, who is one of the senior most legislator in the state.

Both, state Congress chief Upadhyay and Harish Rawat had joined hands to deny Hridayesh the post. Upadhaya in a bid to save his position had sought appointment of Karan Mahra. He felt that if a Rajput from Kumaon region was made Leader of the Opposition, he being a Garhwali Brahmin would be able to retain his position as PCC chief. However, the central party leadership acted smart and did not oblige Harish Rawat by appointment Hridayesh who deserved the position.

Interestingly, the verbal spat between Harish Rawat and Indira Hridayesh has indicated that Uttarakhand Congress would be more divided in the coming days. Former Chief Minister Harish Rawat who was instrumental in break up of the party by separating 10 Congress legislators in March 2016, is unwilling to yield an inch of space to any other leader.

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