Chief minister Harish Rawat may not seek reelection from Dharchula but may contest from some other constituency, preferably Kedarnath, in the assembly polls, party insiders said.
The Congress veteran contested and won the bypolls to Dharchula just months after he took over as the chief minister following a change of guard in the state on February 1, 2014. He replaced Vijay Bahuguna as CM amid allegations of mishandling of relief works post floods that hit the state in 2013.
Winning the bypoll had become constitutionally mandatory for Rawat to enter the assembly after he took over as the chief minister. Congress insiders, however, said that he may not seek reelection from Dharchula that was vacated by his protégé Harish Dhami.
“The chief minister may contest from some other assembly constituency preferably Kedarnath,” said an office bearer of the state Congress committee requesting anonymity.
Sources said that Rawat was keen on contesting from Kedarnath on the basis of reconstruction work carried out by him in the flood-hit shrine town. Officially, the Congress has not ruled out such a possibility. “The chief minister can contest election from any constituency he wishes to…That is his discretion,” said Mathura Dutt Joshi, the chief spokesperson of the state Congress. “He (Rawat) may also choose to contest election from Kedarnath as the reconstruction work carried out there under his leadership has been widely appreciated,” Joshi said.
On Sunday, Rawat had announced that Congress would come out with its list of all 70 candidates by January 16. However, he had added a consensus has been reached on only 63 seats, while a decision on the remaining ones is still pending. The remarks had also fuelled speculation that he may contest from two seats.