With projections predicting a Congress win in Uttarakhand, the party will struggle to settle the leadership issue due to the emergence of several claimants to the CM’s post.
Union minister Harish Rawat, leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly Harak Singh Rawat, Uttarakhand Congress president Yashpal Arya, former state minister Indira Hridyesh, and MPs Satpal Maharaj and Vijay Bahuguna all are eyeing the top post.
But sources ruled Harish Rawat, Maharaj and Bahuguna out of the race as the party was not in favour of disturbing its present strength in the Lok Sabha. Odds are stacked against Harak Singh Rawat and Hridyesh since they don’t enjoy the acceptability among all sections of the state unit.
The probability of the central leadership opting for a “neutral and acceptable” candidate appears high. One such candidate could be former minister and three-time MLA Preetam Singh. Singh, 51, has both age and clean image on his side. “He fits into Rahul Gandhi’s long-term youth-centric plan,” a party functionary said.
If the Congress regains power in Goa, a bitter fight is expected over the CM’s post, given that many leaders are opposed to incumbent Digambar Kamat’s candidature. Former CM Pratapsinh Rane, his son Vishwajeet, Subash Shirodkar and Mauvin Godinho are the front-runners for the chief minister’s post.