The Congress on Thursday said Harish Rawat will remain chief minister of Uttarakhand if it returns to power in 2017, a move aimed at silencing dissenting voices in the party.
An announcement to this effect was made by AICC state in-charge Ambika Soni at a coordination committee held at chief minister’s residence here on Wednesday, according to party sources who attended the meeting.
Differences between Rawat and Congress state unit chief Kishore Upadhyay have been making headlines after Upadhyay’s supporters projected him as a potential chief ministerial candidate.
The sources said Soni made it clear to Congress leaders that Rawat’s chief ministerial candidature was “unquestionable” and he would form the government if the party returns to power in 2017.
The hill state goes to the polls early next year.
She asked the Congress leaders in the state not have any confusion on the issue, the sources said, adding that Soni was trying to give a message to party leaders, who were questioning Rawat’s leadership.
Earlier, the BJP openly came in support of Upadhyay, claiming he is less corrupt than chief minister Rawat -- an attempt by the opposition party to widen the growing differences in the ruling party.
Besides, the Congress general secretary said prime criteria in ticket distribution for the assembly elections would be candidates’ winnability.
“Winnability of nominees will be verified by the party through its own network apart from gathering feedback from the state leadership and those in the government,” she said.
Soni also hinted that those leaders, who rebelled and contested against the party’s official nominees in 2012 assembly poll, would be denied tickets in 2017.
She, however, appeared flexible on nominations to those who joined the Congress recently and has a good chance to win.