A Congress convention for booth-level workers in Haldwani on Thursday – addressed by chief minister Harish Rawat and PCC chief Kishore Upadhyay, among others – was marred by a noisy protest from a group of workers over the presence of a PDF leader on the stage.
The supporters of Congress leaders seeking ticket from Lalkuan were angry over the presence of Harish Chandra Durgapal, Independent MLA from Lalkuan, at the party event meant for the booth-level workers from Nainital and US Nagar districts.
Initially, both the chief minister and the state Congress chief urged the workers to end the protest, but in vain. Following this, Upadhyay called out the names of the protesting ticket seekers – Harendra Bora, Sandhya Dalakoti and her husband Kiran Dalakoti – and told them to control their supporters or get ready to face “punitive action”. This led to the protestors moving out of the venue.
The programme was to be conducted by political strategist Prashant Kishor, but he did not turn up.
Addressing the party workers, the chief minister said the onus for victory would fall back on the hard work of booth-level workers. “You would be manning the booths, and would be the most important link in our victory,” he said.
Rawat also said he was the first chief minister in the country to survive the imposition of President’s rule and be reinstated by courts. “It has all happened on account of your strength and hard work,” he said.
Rawat said the Congress’ main aim was to be able to help eliminate poverty and check migration from the hills, after returning to power.
He said he was like chilli powder in the eyes of some people who wanted him to be removed from politics.
“You have to rely on two Kishores now, state president Kishore Upadhyay and political strategist Prashant Kishor, for victory in Uttarakhand,” he said.
Upadhyay said the party vice president, Rahul Gandhi, had issued guidelines to the party for victory in the upcoming polls and all had to abide by them. “We have kept a box for receiving suggestions from the workers which would be used by the high command to formulate policies and changes,” he said.
He said about 1,000 people had sought Congress tickets while there were only 70 seats. “Those who are left out should work with full strength for the victory of the party as a committed soldier of the Congress,” he said.