Dehradun: The Congress has not yet decided the name of its candidate from Pauri Lok Sabha constituency and this has prevented the party from announcing the names of its Lok Sabha candidates in Uttarakhand.
As for the Pauri seat, the party is considering the names of Lt General Gambhir Singh Negi and retired IFS officer RBS Rawat while Vijay Bahuguna, on the insistence of the central leadership, has agreed to contest from the Tehri seat.
Pauri Lok Sabha constituency has become a hard nut to crack for the Congress leadership. Although the party had finalised the name of Lt General GS Negi from this seat, but now it will review the decision after recently retired Uttarakhand forest department chief RBS Rawat’s name surfaced as another option for the ruling party. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has deferred the decision of announcing the candidates’ names for all five seats as he wants to assess Rawat’s candidature, highly placed sources in the party said.
It was said a couple of days ago that Negi’s name was almost final from Pauri constituency. But a section in the party tried to convince the party leadership that Rawat can be a strong candidate to counter BJP heavyweight Lt Gen BC Khanduri.
“RBS Rawat can be a strong candidate from Pauri as he has a good network in the area and is well connected with voters. He has complete knowledge of the area and voters acknowledge his commitment to the development of the region,” claimed Prithvi Singh Chauhan, former state bar council president and a Congressman who is camping in Delhi to lobby for Rawat’s candidature. In addition to this, he is a local from Chamoli and has maintained relations with locals despite being an all India services officer.
The Congress had finalised its nominees from all five seats of the state on Tuesday after a long meeting between AICC state in charge Ambika Soni, PCC president Yashpal Arya and other leaders in Delhi. It was to be announced on Wednesday evening but AICC vice president altered the plan at last moment seeing the claims in favour of RBS Rawat.
Sources said that Rahul Gandhi’s close associates have forwarded Rawat’s candidature to him following which the Congress vice president put the announcement plan on hold. On the other hand sources said that former CM Vijay Bahuguna has now made up his mind to contest irrespective of inhibitions shown by him earlier.