Fissures within the Congress in Uttarakhand have spilled into the open with several MLAs upset by the nominating of chief minister Harish Rawat’s aide to the Rajya Sabha.
The party saw a surge in so-called blackmailing tactics by unhappy legislators after it won a crucial floor test last month but Rawat loyalist Pradeep Tamta’s possible elevation to the upper house has made things worse for the Congress.
Adding to the party’s woes is growing unrest among the public over a series of official transfers done by the government allegedly to please sulking leaders and the CM’s silence on the issue.
After state president Kishore Upadhyay, Bajpur MLA Yashpal Arya and Tharali MLA Jeet Ram spoke out against the party’s Rajya Sabha candidate, two more legislators have refused to accept cabinet minister ranks, indicating how the Congress’ house is not in order.
One of the two, Vikasnagar MLA Nav Prabhat said, “I think the MLAs should be taken into confidence by the party before taking decision in such cases, especially at a time when the elections are just round the corner.” He also alleged he was never offered the position.
The other, Pithoragarh MLA Mayukh Mahar, lashed out at the chief minister for having failed to fulfill the promises made to the people of his constituency. Mahar alleged that he was bearing the brunt of the public’s angst because he shared the dais when Rawat made several lofty announcements in Pithoragarh.
“CM toh jhoothe bane hi, unke sath hum bhi jhoothe ban gaye… janta ko kya mooh dikhaenge chunav mein (the CM has belied the promises made to my people. How will I face the public in the elections?),” Mahar told HT, adding that he has submitted a list of “at least 30 unfulfilled promises made by the CM” to the party leadership.
In a social media post carrying his “personal views”, a party leader said that the Congress urgently needed to “gauge and set right” the reasons behind two senior MLAs returning the cabinet minister ranks.
“Though I respect the party high command’s decision, we certainly need to introspect why an effort was not made to build a consensus before finalizing the Rajya Sabha candidate,” the leader said.
Rawat, on the other hand, has largely kept silent over the growing conflicts in the party and has been training his guns at the BJP leadership. Adding to the trouble, the BJP recently accused a top bureaucrat in the Harish Rawat government of taking a bribe, allegedly to support horse-trading for the government.
“Though the veracity of the allegation has not been established, the CM’s silence over such matters will only bring further embarrassment to us,” said a party functionary from Uttarkashi district.