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In Uttarakhand, Congress works to unite divided house

dehradun Updated: Jan 27, 2017 20:25 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times

Rebellion had broken out in Congress immediately after the party announced its candidates.(HT FILE)

The rebellion-hit Congress remained busy persuading its dissident leaders on Friday, the last day of filing nominations, but it claimed that most of them will withdraw nominations by February 1.

As filing of nominations concluded on Friday, the rebellion-hit Congress remained busy persuading its dissident leaders and claimed that “most of them will withdraw” their nominations by February 1.

Irked at not getting tickets, more than a dozen Congress leaders filed nominations to contest as Independent candidates in the February 15 elections. “We have already persuaded around 15 party leaders who were planning to contest as Independents over the past two-three days. As for others (who have filed nominations), we hope that they will take back nominations by February 1,” Congress state chief Kishore Upadhyay told HT.

The Congress dissidents set to contest as Independents include Aryendra Sharma (Sahaspur), Shilpi Arora (Kichha), Shoorveer Singh Sajwan (Devprayag), Ranjit Das (Bageshwar), Rajni Rawat (Raipur and Dharampur), Naveen Bisht (Dehradun Cantt), Pradeep Thapliyal (Rudraprayag) and Renu Bisht (Yamkeshwar).

“The party’s central leadership is taking the Uttarakhand elections very seriously and they are in contact with the dissident leaders,” Upadhyay said.

The PCC chief himself had some relief after nine leaders - Gulzar Ahmad, Nazma Khan, Shankar Chand Ramola, Rakesh Negi, Balbir Rawat, Sangram Pundir, Azad Ali, Tahir Ali and Yaqub Siddiqui - supported his candidature in Sahaspur.

Gulzar had contested the 2012 polls as a Congress rebel and he bagged 9,699 votes. In the process, he had spoiled the game for the party’s official candidate Aryendra Sharma who came second with 20,574 votes. The rift in vote had benefited BJP’s Sahdev Pundir who won the seat by securing 26,064 votes.

“I along with my supporters decided to support Upadhyayji to ensure BJP’s defeat which is involved in divisive politics,” Ahmad told HT.

But Aryendra Sharma may still spoil the equation for Upadhyay in the same way like Gulzar did five years ago to him.

Meanwhile, the Congress Central Election Committee on Friday declared that it will “support the candidature” of Pritam Singh Panwar, who is contesting as an Independent from Dhanolti. The party had earlier announced Manmohan Mall as its candidate for the seat. “We will follow the high command’s order and will see what has to be done further,” Upadhyay said.

First Published: Jan 27, 2017 20:25 IST