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Rawat intervenes to resolve row between senior ministers

Three days after the supporters were injured in a scuffle, CM Trivendra Singh Rawat held a meeting at his official residence with senior ministers, Satpal Maharaj and Madan Kaushik on Sunday.

dehradun Updated: Aug 13, 2017 20:37 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Madan Kaushik,Satpal Maharaj
Urban development minister Madan Kaushik speaks with tourism minister Satpal Maharaj at a BJP meeting in Ranipur on Sunday.(Rameshwar Gaur/HT PHOTO)

DEHRADUN: Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday stepped in to resolve the ongoing row between senior ministers Satpal Maharaj and Madan Kaushik, three days after scores of their supporters were injured during a scuffle in Haridwar.

Rawat had a meeting with Maharaj and Kaushik at his official residence which was also attended by BJP state president Ajay Bhatt and some of the party’s key organisational leaders. The meeting, which began at around 8:30 in the morning, went on for the next one-and-a-half hours. It was also attended by some of the confidants of Mahraj and Kaushik, sources said.

Haridwar mayor Manoj Garg, a Kaushik loyalist, who was said to be injured on head during the clashes, was conspicuous by his absence. The meeting came a day after Maharaj alleged that the Haridwar mayor got the boundary wall of his ashram demolished and the garbage dumped outside its gate.

The minister demanded that the chief minister order an inquiry into the clashes so that “those responsible” for demolishing the boundary wall of his ashram and dumping garbage were removed from their positions. Rawat is believed to have asked both the senior ministers to resolve their differences amicably as the clashes among their supporters had dented the ruling party’s image. He also reportedly told them that the image of his government had suffered a huge dent.

The violence ensued after the two sides came to blows over removal of some structures outside the ashram. Both sides registered a police case against one another. On Saturday, Maharaj told HT that a dozen of his supporters were injured in the clashes. He asserted the incident was an act of vendetta on the mayor’s part. “What annoyed him is that I got re-tendering of a car park in the Hari-ki-Pairi area done. The mayor had rented it out for Rs 1 crore but after retendering the rent went up to Rs 3 crore,” Maharaj alleged.

Garg’s brother Maneesh refuted the allegations.

Kaushik confirmed Rawat met with both sides and said the issue would be resolved soon. “It was mutually decided that both sides will have a meeting with our party’s state chief and the issue would be resolved for good.”

BJP sources, however, said Maharaj’s supporters were not ready to withdraw the police case registered against Garg and his supporters. Maharaj couldn’t be reached for his comments despite several attempts.

Maharaj-Kaushik share dais

For the first time since the August 10 demolition drive, Maharaj and Kaushik shared dais during the district working executive committee meeting at Ranipur. Maharaj attended the meet as he is in-charge cabinet minister of Haridwar, whereas Kaushik is a legislator from thecity.

Senior party leader Shyam Jaju made them sit together,which resulted in some brief talks between them.Kaushik tried to break the ice twice talking to Maharaj who remained tight-lipped. “There is no such thing as the media is making out. If there is any issue,it will be solved amicably.Our only motive is to strengthen the party cadre in the district and review its working ,which we did during the meeting,” Kaushik said.

Maharaj said he cant say anything that as the police is investigating the matter and that he would will only talk about the district working committee meeting only.

First Published: Aug 13, 2017 20:37 IST