‘Could spin political game,’ say experts as Harish Rawat takes charge of Cong in Punjab | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Could spin political game,’ say experts as Harish Rawat takes charge of Cong in Punjab

Hindustan Times, Dehradun | ByKalyan Das | Edited by Sparshita Saxena
Sep 13, 2020 07:53 PM IST

Former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat, who was earlier in-charge of the Assam unit, was given the charge of Punjab a few days ago. Since then, state political experts are of the view that the new role is the result of his ‘active presence in Uttarakhand’.

The All India Congress Committee (AICC), in its recent reshuffle of leadership roles, appointed former chief minister of Uttarakhand and party national general secretary Harish Rawat as in-charge of its Punjab unit. However, political experts believe the move is not just a mere elevation but a sign of the party high command’s trust in him which could lead to new political arithmetic in the Uttarakhand unit before the 2022 Assembly elections.

File photo: Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat.(Rishi Ballabh/HT Photo)
File photo: Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat.(Rishi Ballabh/HT Photo)

Rawat, who was earlier in-charge of the Assam unit, was given the charge of Punjab a few days ago. Since then, state political experts are of the view that the new role is the result of his ‘active presence in Uttarakhand as well as the mark he has left in Assam as its in-charge’. They also claim that he could soon land a major role during the upcoming 2022 state assembly polls which are going to be crucial for the state unit.

“Rawat’s new role definitely says a lot about his stature in the party and his terms with the party high command which includes Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. This would surely lead to new political calculations in the Uttarakhand unit also,” said MM Semwal, political expert and professor of political science at Garhwal Central University, Pauri Garhwal.

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Semwal said, “Though he has been elevated in the national politics but his presence is still in the state. No leader in the state’s leadership is close to his stature and he had to work hard to reach where he is today. Both state president Pritam Singh and leader of Opposition Indira Hridayesh seem to be confined to their respective constituencies only unlike Rawat who holds sway across the Himalayan state.”

He also said that given Rawat’s active presence in Uttarakhand, it would not be surprising if he is assigned a vital role in the 2022 elections.

“The only face which Congress could project before the public in the state is Rawat only. No other leader has a pan-state presence like him. He would definitely be utilised in the 2022 elections,” he said.

SMA Kazmi, another political expert who has been keeping an eye on state’s politics for nearly two decades, said Rawat has been rewarded for his loyalty to the Gandhi family which was evident in the recent letter episode in the party national leadership.”

“Rawat has played his cards very well both at the Central and well as state level. At the national level, he has been a loyalist to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and at state level, he played the intra-state politics in a very calculative way. This has paid him dividends in the form of Punjab in-charge,” said Kazmi.

On his role in the 2022 Uttarakhand Assembly polls, he said ‘his plate is full.’

“His stakes are high in both Punjab as well as Uttarakhand with the Assembly polls due in both the states more or less the same year. In Punjab, he would like to retain the power for the party while in Uttarakhand he would like the party to win and become the CM himself. Hence his role in Uttarakhand polls has now become more important,” he said.

Given Rawat’s stature in the party, state Congress unit head Pritam Singh and leader of Opposition Hridayesh, who are considered to be in the opposite factions of Rawat, took to social media to congratulate Rawat for the new role.

On the new responsibility and his possible role in Uttarakhand considering the 2022 elections, Rawat said that “he is always ready for any responsibility in Uttarakhand to help the party.’

“I am very grateful to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for giving me this opportunity to serve Punjab. This role will also help me in working in Uttarakhand also as per the requirements of the party. I work in Chandigarh in the morning and work in Dehradun in the evening on the same day. No issues for me,” said Rawat.

Rawat also said that his new role will ‘actually help the party in Uttarakhand too.’

“Punjab is a very significant state for Uttarakhand in terms of culture, economic and agriculture. The Uttarakhand unit could surely take advantage of my work in Punjab. I am able to dance to the same tune in Punjab as well as in Uttarakhand,” he said.

“At present, I have been working as a catalyst for the Uttarakhand unit leadership and will continue to do so.”

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