The Congress is making desperate attempts to set its house in order in Uttarakhand ahead of the crucial upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The intense infighting in the Uttarakhand Congress had forced the party leadership to replace Vijay Bahuguna with Harish Rawat as the chief minister last month.
The move was to stem frequent revolts in the state.
But infightings have not stopped and the three main factions continue to be at war with each other. While one faction is headed by Rawat, the other owes its allegiance to Bahuguna and the third is loyal to Garhwal MP Satpal Maharaj.
Maharaj has now raised the banner of revolt against the party, expressing a deep sense of hurt as the party was allegedly neglecting ordinary workers. Maharaj has publicly announced that neither he nor anyone else from his family would contest the elections. He has asked the party to field a dedicated party worker from the seat.
Congress sources, however, said Maharaj is upset with Rawat for not accepting some of his demands. He was at loggerhead with Bahuguna as well. The developments have been worrying for the Congress as it goes to polls amid unfavourable predictions.
With the state Congress virtually headless after Yashpal Arya submitted his resignation from the post, the party leadership is looking for a person who could unite all the factions.
In the past few weeks, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi interviewed many state leaders for the post after which two candidates were shortlisted. Former state minister Kishore Upadhyay and All India Congress Committee secretary Prakash Joshi are the two main front-runners for the post.
While Upadhyay belongs to the Rawat camp and lacks organisational experience, scales are heavily tilted in favour of Joshi who does not owe allegiance to any camp.
Gandhi had entrusted Joshi with the task of conducting primaries in 16 Lok Sabha constituencies as a pilot project. He had conducted the first round of organisational elections in the Youth Congress.
The leadership is also expected to strike a balance between different castes. With the chief minister being a Rajput, the state chief is likely to be a Brahmin. Both Upadhyay and Joshi are Brahmins.