The decks have been cleared for union water resources minister Harish Rawat to take over as the next chief minister of Uttarakhand as incumbent Vijay Bahuguna has been asked to submit his resignation.
Congress sources said Bahuguna has also been asked to ensure a one-line resolution from legislators authorizing the party high command to appoint a new chief minister. The leadership has also deputed union ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sushilkumar Shinde as central observers to seek the views of legislators on the change of guard. They will reach Dehradun on Friday.
Chief minister Bahuguna has been under pressure ever since the flash floods hit Uttarakhand last year. The massive rescue and rehabilitation work they entailed brought his leadership skills into question.
Several delegations of MLAs and other leaders have been regularly meeting the central leadership over the past several months to press for Bahuguna’s ouster.
The party has also started looking for a state unit chief as incumbent Yashpal Arya, who is also a minister in the state, has already submitted his resignation to the leadership.
The central leadership is expected to strike a balance between Garhwal and Kumaon regions and keep the consideration of Brahmin and Rajput castes as well.
The names of Brahmin leaders Nav Prabhat, Kishore Upadhyay and Prakash Joshi are being considered.
While Prabhat, a close relative of former chief minister ND Tewari, lacks organisational experience, Upadhyay belongs to the Harish Rawat camp. Joshi is not known to owe allegiance to any camp
KNOW HARISH RAWAT
*Union minister Harish Rawat, a Thakur, started his political career as a gram pradhan way back in 1972 before he was elected as a block pramukh a year later.
*The soft spoken politician who is an MA, LLB from Lucknow University became a Youth Congress district president in 1977.
*Rawat had staked claim to the coveted post twice since the hill state came into being in 2000. On both occasions he was ignored by the Congress high command
*He is being brought in at a time when the ruling party's mass base appears to be dwindling. Something that's being attributed to the outgoing CM's failure to tackle the relief and rehabilitation issues even months after the state was hit by the mid-June deluge.