The strained relationship between the Congress and its ally, the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF), has touched an all-time low, with the latter’s leaders issuing back-to-back statements against the grand old party.
The six-member PDF — comprising three independent MLAs, two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs and one Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) MLA — has off late been at loggerheads with the Congress-led government over various issues.
Independent MLA and education minister Mantri Prasad Naithani earlier this week commented that some Congress leaders were trying to “weaken the party”. Last month, Dinesh Dhanai – another cabinet minister in the Harish Rawat government — said the Congress organisation in the state was “weak”.
These statements have caused a lot of unrest in the Congress, with its members urging chief minister Harish Rawat to “rein in” the PDF members by preventing them from making anti-Congress comments.
They fear that a delay in resolving the crisis could impact their prospects in the upcoming polls.
“Uncertainty continues to prevail on whether the PDF members will fight elections on their own or seek a Congress ticket,” said a senior party leader, eyeing a seat from a PDF member’s constituency.
State Congress president Kishore Upadhyay demanded that the PDF members define clearly their poll plans immediately as it was affecting the morale of the Congress workers.
“As the party’s state president, I will fight for the rights of my fellow members who’ve been working hard for years (in the constituencies currently represented by the PDF legislators),” Upadhyay told HT, adding that unwarranted statements by some PDF members on the party will not be tolerated.
The opposition BJP has meanwhile targeted both the Congress and the PDF for putting Uttarakhand’s development at stake. “Both the sides had come together for their own interests rather than for the state’s development, which has become apparent now… the Congress party will finish at an all-time low score in the upcoming elections,” BJP spokesperson Vinay Goyal told HT.