Cong leaders see silver lining in MLAs’ ‘exodus’ | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Cong leaders see silver lining in MLAs’ ‘exodus’

The Congress may have lost one-third of its dissident legislators to the opposition BJP in Uttarakhand in the last eight months, but a section in the ruling party feels that the “exodus” presents an opportunity for young leaders to take the centre stage

dehradun Updated: Jan 17, 2017 20:14 IST
Neha Pant
Congress youth wing members stage a protest.
Congress youth wing members stage a protest. (HT Photo)

The Congress may have lost one-third of its dissident legislators to the opposition BJP in Uttarakhand in the last eight months, but a section in the ruling party feels that the “exodus” presents an opportunity for young leaders to take the centre stage and work with renewed vigour.

Nine Congress leaders – Vijay Bahuguna from Sitarganj constituency, Harak Singh Rawat (Rudraprayag), Umesh Sharma ‘Kau’ (Raipur), Shailendra Mohan Singhal (Jaspur), Shailarani Rawat (Kedarnath), Kunwar Pranav Singh ‘Champion’ (Khanpur), Pradeep Batra (Roorkee), Amrita Rawat (Ramnagar) and Subodh Uniyal (Narendranagar) – had switched their loyalty to the BJP last year.

Later, a 10th legislator – Rekha Arya from Someshwar assembly segment – defected to the BJP during the May 2016 floor test. On Monday, cabinet minister Yashpal Arya, who had been a part of the Congress for over four decades, became the 11th Congress legislator to join the BJP.

With the exit of 11 of the 32 party legislators, Congress leaders, especially the youth, are looking forward to establishing themselves even more firmly in the party fold than before – and also possibly in getting a ticket.

“It’s a great time for the youth leaders…and also the beginning of a new era for the Congress party itself. This (MLAs’ exodus) will help the future leaders take the centre stage and work for the party with a renewed vigour,” said Uttarakhand Youth Congress president Bhuwan Kapri, who has staked claim from Khatima constituency of Udham Singh Nagar district.

Demanding a “strong presence” of youths in the Congress’ contestants’ list, the state Youth Congress has submitted a panel of 13 names on 12 seats to the party’s central leadership.

Naveen Joshi, who has sought a ticket from the Dehradun Cantt seat, said the current circumstance has come as a “golden chance” for new leaders to come forward. “There’s no dearth of dynamic leaders in the Congress and their (11 MLAs’) exit will only provide new avenues to young leaders who had been working silently at the grassroots so far,” Joshi, a general secretary with the state Congress party, said.

Tarun Pant, who holds the post of a party general secretary, said the leaders like him who were “product of student politics”, will get further strengthened due to senior leaders’ desertion of the party. “Those who abandoned the party for their self-interest have only strengthened the young leaders’ resolve to stay loyal for our party, come what may,” he said.