New Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna addresses the media at his residence in Dehradun. PTI photo
Tehri MP Vijay Bahuguna (65) took oath as the seventh chief minister of Uttarakhand on Tuesday evening amid high political drama and infighting in the Congress.
The infighting indeed reached its crescendo with sulking Union state minister for parliamentary affairs Harish Rawat resigning for not appointing him as Uttarakhand CM.
Oath taking ceremony was held at Parade Ground, attended by almost 12 legislators belonging to Bahuguna and Pauri MP Satpal Maharaj’s group.
Rawat and his supporter legislators however distanced from the function.
Governor Margret Alva administered oath of office and secrecy to Bahuguna.
“Cabinet will be decided in Delhi” said Bahuguna who headed for New Delhi after alone taking oath. He was hopeful things would be settled amicably.
“It (infighting) is our internal matter we will resolve it”.
Earlier Bahuguna kept close tab on the political developments going on in the national capital where legislators from the Rawat camp have reportedly declined to compromise.
It took an entire week for Congress to decide its chief ministerial candidate. Nine candidates including Rawat, Bahuguna, Pauri MP Satpal Maharaj, PCC president Yashpal Arya, leader of opposition Harak Singh were in the fray for top job.
Interestingly Harak Singh who equally seemed ‘low’ joined Rawat.
Number game in Uttarakhand assembly
|Total seats: 70|
(Independents, BSP and UKD have extended support to Congress)
“This (Bahuguna) government will hardly last” he said adding Rawat has a point to make.
Sources say party picked Bahuguna since he was the choice of general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Moreover being a son of ex UP CM HN Bahuguna and brother of UPCC president Rita Bahuguna, worked in the favour of former judge of the Bombay high court.
Meanwhile Pradeep Tamta, MP from Almora Parliamentary constituency who is coordinating Rawat camp maintained that his leader has been cheated.
“He (Rawat) was cheated in 2002 and again in 2012, we are not going to change our stand” Tamta underlined.
As per party insiders AICC leaders had assured Uttarakhand leaders CM would be appointed only within MLA’s but party changed stand at the 11th hour by pushing Bahuguna who is Loksabha MP.
“It is injustice, we don’t want to break party but certainly we are against injustice” added Tamta.
Sources say with the Bahuguna taking oath, now hardly any space left for settlement.
“He should break party” told first time legislator from Kumaon to HT. Insiders say Rawat has 15 legislators on his side but to break party, two third or 22 legislators are needed.
Observers say Congress which has ‘wafer thin’ majority in the Uttarakhand assembly has taken a major risk by appointing Bahuguna as CM.
“Even if Rawat soften his stand, the fate of government will be on doldrums” said JS Rawat, political commenter.
Meanwhile state Congress office adorned a deserted look as handful of workers were visible amid sloganeering against party in-charge Birender Singh and Bahuguna.