File photo: Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat.(PTI)
File photo: Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat.(PTI)

Bickering in Uttarakhand Congress over CM candidate for 2022 polls

The development came after some senior Congress leaders projected former chief minister and senior leader Harish Rawat as the party’s CM candidate for the 2022 assembly polls.
By Neeraj Santoshi | Hindustan Times, Dehradun
UPDATED ON NOV 30, 2020 11:49 PM IST

Bickering is on in Uttarakhand Congress over who will lead the party as the chief ministerial candidate in the 2022 assembly polls. The Congress, on Monday, issued a statement saying state Congress president Pritam Singh will lead the party in the 2022 Assembly elections.

The development came after some senior Congress leaders, including Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Tamta, senior Congress MLA Govind Singh Kunjwal, Dharchula MLA Harish Dhami, former Almora MLA Manoj Tiwari, projected former chief minister and senior Congress leader Harish Rawat as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the forthcoming assembly polls in 2022. This has not gone well with the Congress state president Pritam Singh and his supporters.

Congress state vice president Suryakant Dhasmana issued a statement on Monday, making it clear that Pritam Singh will be the captain of the party in the 2022 elections.

“No change is happening in the Pradesh Congress Committee and no leader has been projected as the chief ministerial candidate by the party as of now. Right now, the focus is on strengthening the party at the grassroots level and raising main issues faced by the people in the state like unemployment and price hike”, said Dhasmana.

Dhasmana said that Pritam Singh will lead the party in 2022 elections and is already on a tour of the state, working at the forefront, meeting with the party leaders and cadre in different districts.

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“Our job right now should be to work for making Congress victorious in the elections. Who will be the chief ministerial candidate should be left to the party high command. If we start a debate over this now, it will send a wrong signal to the people that all we care about is who will be the CM candidate”, he said.

When questioned about the developments, Harish Rawat said he will do whatever the party high command in Delhi tells him.

“If they don’t want me here, I am ready to move away from the Congress affairs in the state. All my actions here are inspired by the doing what is good for the party in the long run,” he said.

On him being projected as the CM candidate by some senior party leaders, he said, “This is their view. My job is to work in best interests of the party in the state in the long run”.

The infighting in the state party unit is raging ahead of the elections, especially at a time when the party is trying to strengthen itself at the grassroots level. Recently, some Congress leaders even indirectly attacked Harish Rawat, blaming him for the 2017 election loss.

Rawat responded by saying, “They are those who were just getting born when I tasted first electoral loss and was then preparing to fight next. However, there are also some old ones, who have never fought any election nor got the Congress win in their wards, but counting my electoral losses… I want to tell them that I have been at the forefront of election campaigns from 2002 to 2019. These statistics masters ought to stop counting my wins and losses and move forward”.

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