Uttarakhand ministers going beyond their seats to ensure Congress victory | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Uttarakhand ministers going beyond their seats to ensure Congress victory

Congress ministers in the Harish Rawat government are adopting a ‘wider’ electoral focus beyond their own seats to ensure their party’s success in the upcoming assembly polls.

dehradun Updated: Jan 10, 2017 19:22 IST
Neha Pant
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, during a meeting in New Delhi in October last year, had asked party ministers in Uttarakhand to ensure victory in at least two seats adjacent to their own assembly constituencies.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, during a meeting in New Delhi in October last year, had asked party ministers in Uttarakhand to ensure victory in at least two seats adjacent to their own assembly constituencies. (DS Sijwali/HT Photo)

Congress ministers in the Harish Rawat government are adopting a ‘wider’ electoral focus beyond their own seats to ensure their party’s success in the upcoming assembly polls.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, during a meeting in New Delhi in October last year, had asked party ministers in Uttarakhand to ensure victory in at least two seats adjacent to their own assembly constituencies.

At present, there are 12 ministers in the Uttarakhand cabinet -- eight from Congress and four from Progressive Democratic Front. Congress ministers, apart from chief minister Harish Rawat, include Indira Hridayesh, Yashpal Arya, Surendra Singh Negi, Pritam Singh, Dinesh Agarwal, Navprabhat and Rajendra Bhandari.

Finance minister Indira Hridayesh, who currently represents the Haldwani constituency of Kumaon region, is working to ensure the party’s success in all the seats in Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar districts.

“I’m monitoring poll-related activities, keeping an eye on any dissent within the party and trying to ensure that leaders from this region don’t rebel against the party,” Hridayesh, the seniormost cabinet minister in the Harish Rawat government, said.

Home minister Pritam Singh, who has had a hat-trick by getting elected to the Chakrata seat three times in a row, is now focusing on ‘nearby seats’ where he holds command.

“I’ve been the minister in charge for Uttarkashi. So I’m focusing on nearby seats in the (Uttarkashi) district like Purola and Yamunotri. I’m also concentrating on Vikasnagar and Sahaspur seats, which were earlier a part of the Chakrata constituency,” Singh said, adding, his main focus would be on keeping the party’s flock together once the tickets are announced by the central leadership.

Forest minister Dinesh Agarwal, who represents the Dharampur constituency of state capital Dehradun, said that the ministers were “responsible for the entire state” and would extend all possible support in terms of guidance and resources to party leaders contesting on any seat.

Political observers, however, said that ensuring victory on other seats may not be a cakewalk for the party veterans given a general wave of anti-incumbency sweeping in many parts of Uttarakhand. “In fact, some ministers may find it difficult to save their own seats due to angst against the ruling (Congress) party,” political commentator Bhuwan Uniyal said.