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Cong watching rebels

india Updated: Jan 10, 2012 16:34 IST
Anupam Trivedi

After releasing the final list of candidates for Uttarakhand polls, the Congress focus is now on checking rebellion inside the party. A team of two-dozen observers is camping in different parts of the state for this reason.

Out of 70 assembly segments, the Congress announced 69 candidates till Monday afternoon. In the first list of 65 candidates, the party repeated 19 sitting MLAs. In the second list, the party gave the go-ahead to two recommendations of octogenarian Congress leader ND Tiwari, including Manish Tiwari, NDT’s nephew, from Kashipur. It is said the party obliged Tiwari, considering his hold in certain pockets of Kumaon.

The party has more or less tried to balance its list. Out of 69 tickets announced, Rajput community bagged 28 tickets while Brahmins and Dalits were given 13 tickets each. Four Muslims were also adjusted in the list, along with one Sikh and two Punjabis.

Party in-charge for state affairs, Chaudhary Birendra Singh said that tickets were given after consulting leaders and considering several factors.

Now that the list is out , the party has begun its damage control exercise. Sources revealed that Congress president Sonia Gandhi has clearly told leaders to check rebels with an iron hand.

“Congress observers are keeping an eye on every single assembly segment. Reports on day-to-day basis are being prepared. There are clear orders from the high command to take stringent action not only against rebels but also against those leaders who are backing rebels,” said a party observer on Monday.

Considering the fact that rebels might change the rules of game, Congress state leaders have been told to pacify dissidents at any cost. State Congress Yashpal Arya has been entrusted with the task of convincing Mahesh Sharma who is flexing his muscles to contest from Kaladhungi.

Similarly, union minister of state Harish Rawat has been told to pacify ‘turncoat’ former MLA Ambrish Kumar who was expecting ticket from Ranipur or Haridwar. Ambrish has announced to contest as an independent.

Likewise, Bharat Chaudhary and Kiran Maldar, who were seeking tickets respectively from Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh, are upset since opposition leader Harak Singh Rawat is contesting from Rudraprayag and sitting MLA Mayuk Mahar from Pithoragarh.

The party has told its leaders who are either ‘ready to contest or working against party interest’, to understand the ground situation and not to take hasty decisions.