Uttarakhand Congress divided over return of leaders who had left party
The differences in the Congress have cropped up days after a row erupted in the state unit of the BJP when two ruling party legislators from Haridwar accused chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat of neglecting development in their constituencies.dehradun Updated: Jul 22, 2018 22:12 IST
The Uttarakhand Congress is divided over the return of a few leaders who had deserted the party, a senior leader said, indicating rumblings in the opposition party.
The differences in the Congress have cropped up days after a row erupted in the state unit of the BJP when two ruling party legislators from Haridwar accused chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat of neglecting development in their constituencies.
A delegation of the state Congress had met party president Rahul Gandhi to tell him about the willingness of some former Congress leaders to return to the party. Gandhi told them that anybody is free to join the party unconditionally, Congress sources said.
The delegation that met Gandhi included Uttarakhand state in-charge Anugrah Narayan Singh, state party chief Pritam Singh, leader of opposition Indira Hridayesh, former chief minister Harish Rawat and former state unit chief Kishore Upadhyay.
Some party leaders continue to oppose the return of the deserters because of “personal reasons”, the senior Congress leader said on condition of anonymity. “Some of the leaders who want to return are important and will add strength to the party if they are allowed to join again.”
Shoorveer Singh Sajwan, Aryendra Sharma, Dinesh Dhanai, Harendra Vohra and Mahesh Sharma, who fought the last assembly polls independently, are among those who want to return, but are facing opposition from within the party, the leader said.
“Sajwan is facing opposition from former legislator and party leader Mantri Prasad Naithani as Sajwan had contested against him from Devprayag constituency in the last elections in which both lost. State chief Singh is supporting his return,” he said.
“Aryendra is facing opposition from former state chief Upadhyay; in 2017, Aryendra’s supporters had vandalised the Congress office when Upadhyay was the president.”
The senior leader claimed that Dhanai, who was an independent MLA in the last assembly and a cabinet minister in the Harish Rawat government, is also facing opposition from Upadhyay as he contested against him from Tehri in which both lost. Vohra’s entry is opposed by Harishchandra Durgapal as he contested as an independent in the last elections from Lalkuwa constituency.
“The major difference among party leaders is on the return of Mahesh Sharma who had contested against Congress national leader Prakash Joshi as an independent from Kaladhungi. Both lost in the last assembly election,” he said. “Hridayesh supports return of Mahesh as he is a strong leader in Nainital region.”
Congress state media co-ordinator Dhirendra Pratap said, “It is not the time to settle personal scores. Gandhi has given the mandate to state chief Singh, and all other leaders should follow his decision on the return of these leaders.” He said Sajwan and another former Congress leader, Vijaylakshmi Gosain, would join the party at a programme on Monday.
Refuting differences in the party, Pritam Singh said anyone is welcome to return to the party. “At present we are not in power. Those who are interested can return unconditionally and work for the party,” he said.
First Published: Jul 22, 2018 22:12 IST