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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Rawat's elevation a prize for revolt or sycophancy, critics ask

Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 28, 2012
First Published: 19:49 IST(28/10/2012) | Last Updated: 19:57 IST(28/10/2012)

Harish Rawat's elevation as Union cabinet minister has not come as a surprise for many in the ruling Congress in Uttarakhand. In fact just seven months back Rawat was rebelling after the party decided on Vijay Bahuguna as the chief ministerial candidate.

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Soon after, in a high-voltage drama, leaders in the Congress were expecting that the party high command would placate the sulking leader by offering him a cabinet berth, as he has considerable support among voters and party workers in Uttarakhand.

After the brief oath-taking ceremony in New Delhi, chief minister Vijay Bahuguna visited him to extend 'good wishes' for 'his bright future'.

"Rawatji has got his due. He is a capable leader and the right person for the cabinet ministerial post," said Surender Kumar, former party spokesperson and Rawat's confidant.

Party leaders in the state term Rawat's elevation as an attempt to maintain equilibrium in the factions-ridden Congress, particularly after its bitter defeat in the Tehri parliament bypoll.

Rawat happens to be the first cabinet minister in the Union government ever since Uttarakhand was carved out from the parent state Uttar Pradesh. Former chief minister BC Khanduri and BS Rawat, both were ministers of state in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee government. Later Khanduri was elevated as MoS with an independent charge.

"It's good in a sense that Uttarakhand now has a cabinet minister for water resources. The ministry is quite crucial for the hill state," underlined Padam Shree recipient and social worker Avdhash Kaushal.

Congress workers, though, have mixed reactions on Rawat's political elevation, considering specially that, not a long while ago, he had been mutinying against the party.

Many netizens also took a dig at his repositioning.

'Seven months after raising a banner of revolt, Harish Rawat has stunned his detractors by getting a cabinet berth. Carrot-and-stick policy of Congress is very intriguing,' said one Shishir on Facebook.

Rawat was trending on microblogging site Twitter as well.

'A dartboard marked with portfolios helped Manmohan Singh decide what Shashi Tharoor, Harish Rawat, Manish Tewari and Sachin Pilot would do,' wrote Lindsay Pereira on Twitter.


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