Disgruntled Cong ministers camp in Delhi to seek justice from Sonia
DEHRADUN: Chief minister Harish Rawat may have sought to play it down, but the rebellion by his two ministers — Indira Hridiyesh and Amrita Rawat — reportedly on being denied the portfolios they asked for appears to have rattled the faction-ridden ruling Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
“That is a serious issue,” said state Congress spokesperson Dhirendra Pratap, referring to the revolt by the two ministers. “If not resolved, such a situation will definitely affect our party’s prospects in the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.
In fact, both the ‘disgruntled’ ministers are reported to have taken up the issue of their being denied the coveted posts by Rawat with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Hridiyesh, who has been camping in Delhi since three days, is said to be upset with Rawat on being ‘denied’ the coveted public works department. “Hridiyesh is so upset that she even offered to resign from the cabinet during her meeting with the Congress president,” a party source said.
According to party insiders, cabinet minister Amrita Rawat was equally upset as she failed to get the department of horticulture she was heading during the preceding Vijay Bahuguna regime. It may be noted here that Rawat distributed the portfolios among his 12-member cabinet on February 4, more than a month after he took the charge.
However, before meeting Sonia Gandhi, cabinet minister Amrita Rawat tried to resolve the issue during a meeting with the chief minister.
“But the issue remained unresolved, which left the Pauri MP with no option but to rush to New Delhi, where he effectively took up the issue with the Congress president,” he told Hindustan Times.
Rawat, who has been ‘summoned’ by the Congress high command, though he tried to make light of the whole issue. “Let our party high command take a decision on the issue…I will readily implement whatever decision our leadership chooses to take,” CM said before rushing to New Delhi.
However, the situation is not as simple as the CM wants it to appear. A Congress insider said that the revolt by the twin ministers was a serious issue as it brought to the fore the factionalism dogging the ruling party, which “may cast its shadow on its prospects in the LS elections”.
That all is not well within the Congress is also evident from former CM Vijay Bahuguna’s recent remark he made against Speaker GS Kunjwal. “When I was CM, the Speaker committed constitutional impropriety by frequently criticising my government. He (Speaker) has not spoken even a single word against the government ever since Rawatji took over the charge,” Bahuguna said, hinting that the Speaker, also a ruling party MLA, was acting at the behest of his mentor (CM Rawat) to dislodge him (Bahuguna) from power.
A Bahuguna supporter said that regional imbalance within the Congress was another factor that would cost the ruling party heavily in the LS elections. “All three top leaders of our party, right from the CM, Speaker and state party president, are not only non-Brahmins but they all are from Kumaon,” he said. “Garhwal is simply unrepresented in our top party hierarchy,” he said.