DEHRADUN: The Congress leadership decided on Monday to stick to its plans to nominate Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat’s loyalist for a vacant Rajya Sabha seat despite widespread resentment over the decision.
The central leadership apparently took the decision after Rawat rushed to Delhi for advice as the nomination of former parliamentarian Pradeep Tamta last week did not go down well with alliance partner People’s Democratic Front (PDF) and senior cabinet minister Yashpal Arya.
“National par ties don’ t change stand … party will go ahead with the Tamta,” a senior Congress leader said on Monday evening after reports that the party may drop the Rawat loyalist to quell dissent.
Tamta’s nomination for the Upper House of Parliament, for which election is due on June 11, was a surprising move even for Congress leaders in the state.
PDF leaders were upset because they stood by Rawat in a Supreme Court-monitored trust vote on May 10 that ended nearly two months of President’s rule in the state.
As the crisis escalated, he even offered to give up his candidature. In a letter to Ambika Soni, the Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttarakhand, he mentioned that the party should nominate someone else to end the crisis.
But some semblance of reconciliation was noticed on Monday as Congress chief whip Indira Hridayesh said the lawmakers will ensure victory for the candidate chosen by party president Sonia Gandhi.
“I am not interested in knowing (what Tamta has written). Our job is to ensure victory for the official candidate,” she said.
The government also appointed two officials of Arya’s “choice” in his home district, US Nagar.
The crisis deepened after independent legislators who are part of the PDF threw their hats in the ring. Tourism minister Dinesh Dhane, an independent lawmaker who is part of the six-member front, announced his candidature for the Rajya Sabha seat.
He was apparently mollified too. He was reportedly annoyed with an IAS officer heading the government-run GMVN. The official was removed.