The Congress on Sunday took the first step to end the political crisis in Uttarakhand by nominating a close associate of sulking union minister Harish Rawat for the Rajya Sabha elections from the hill state.
Former minister Mahendra Singh Mahra, a Kumaoni Rajput who lost the recent assembly elections to BJP's Puran Singh from Lohaghat, was the compromise candidate after the central leadership expressed some reservations on giving the ticket to Rawat's wife Renuka for the lone vacant seat for the Upper House from Uttarakhand.
Rawat denied that he was demanding the seat for his wife and maintained that he had no intention of destabilising the Congress government in the state. Making it very clear from the beginning that there was no question of replacing chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, the Congress has indicated its willingness to accommodate some of the other demands put forth by Rawat.
As many as 14 legislators owing allegiance to Rawat have so far refused to take oath.
During the day, Congress president Sonia Gandhi held deliberations with Bahuguna and senior leaders in a bid to resolve the matter.