Uttarakhand minister Harak Singh storms out of cabinet meeting, says I resign
Uttarakhand government spokesperson and minister Subodh Uniyal denied that Harak Singh Rawat has resigned. He, however, added that Harak Singh was unhappy over an issue. State BJP chief Madan Kaushik said the party will resolve any issue.
Dehradun: Uttarakhand minister Harak Singh Rawat stormed out of a cabinet meeting late on Friday reportedly upset over alleged “government inaction” over a proposed medical college in his constituency of Kotdwar, declaring his intention to resign from the cabinet, people familiar with the development said.
Rawat flagged delay in approval to a proposed medical college in his constituency of Kotdwar during the cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. According to officials present at the meeting, it led to an argument between the two.
“The argument heated up as Rawat alleged that development projects in his constituency are not being approved in conspiracy. He then stormed out of the meeting saying, ‘There is no use of being a minister, I am leaving the cabinet’,” said one official.
Cabinet minister and government spokesperson Subodh Uniyal and BJP party state president Madan Kaushik later insisted that Harak Singh Rawat, a seven-time MLA, hadn’t resigned.
Uniyal said he had “no information about his resignation”. “But he was unhappy over an issue related to a proposed medical college in his constituency as apart from being a minister, he is also an MLA,” the cabinet spokesperson said.
Kaushik said the party will speak with him and resolve any issues that Rawat had about his constituency. “Nobody has resigned from the party,” he said.
Phone calls and texts to Harak Singh Rawat for comment went unanswered.
Rawat is considered to have played a key role in the rebellion of nine Congress MLAs in 2016 who switched to the Bharatiya Janata Party, before he also signed up in 2017. Harak Singh Rawat’s exit from the Congress had hugely contributed to the collapse of Harish Rawat’s government in 2017.
But there have been swirling rumours over the last few months that Harak Singh, a Thakur leader from the Garhwal region who first became an MLA in 1991, was looking at exiting the BJP.
It was in context of this speculation that Harish Rawat appeared to raise the bar for letting former Congress leaders return to the party, demanding that they will have to give a public apology before being considered.
Harak Singh Rawat reached out to the Congress leader soon after, persuading Harish Rawat to tone down his pitch. “In disasters, even animals come together then why not two brothers,” Harish Rawat said, reciprocating to the Uttarakhand minister declaring Harish was his “elder brother” and his “place is always at his (Harish Rawat) feet.”
The conciliatory tone between bitter rivals further triggered concerns in the Uttarakhand BJP that there was a possibility that Harak Singh Rawat could head back to the Congress. BJP leaders have denied such a possibility, reaching out to Harak Singh Rawat to mollify him.