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Press Trust Of India
Dehra Dun, March 13, 2012
Factional feud in Congress over the chief ministerial candidate in Uttarakhand today deepened with senior party leader Harak Singh Rawat favouring sulking 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.