The Congress remained evasive on whether Uttarakhand Chief Minister ND Tiwari, who is leading the party’s campaign in the assembly election, would also contest the election. So did the octogenarian leader, who is going for a cataract operation on Tuesday.
Tiwari has been a reluctant chief minister for several months now, repeatedly urging the High Command to relieve him. But the AICC found it difficult to go for a change of guard ahead of the polls.
The AICC has not projected anyone as its chief ministerial nominee, merely stating that Tiwari would lead the campaign. But the party hopes to renew its mandate in Uttarakhand on the basis the Tiwari government’s focus on extensive development in the state, though the chief minister himself has not been in a position to travel extensively in view of his age and health.
In a bid to dilute the incumbency factor working against the government, the AICC even got the chief minister and Pradesh Congress Committee chief Harish Rawat to sink their differences and present a united front by holding joint rallies and campaigns.
The two leaders fell out after Tiwari was made the CM even though Rawat had led the party to victory in the state in the 2002 assembly elections.
Both Tiwari and Rawat were in Delhi for the Pradesh Election Committee meeting, which decided to drop half a dozen sitting legislators while renominating the others. The Congress had won 36 of the 70 seats in the Assembly in 2002.