Harish Rawat has bounced back in Uttarakhand politics with lockdown protests, say experts, BJP calls it show off
A political expert said Rawat was a very clever politician, who knew how to maintain his relevance in state politics.Updated: Jul 09, 2020 17:20 IST
Former Uttarakhand chief minister and party national general secretary Harish Rawat has held several protests against the BJP-led Central and state governments in the past two months, marking the party’s presence in the state.
In the past few days, Rawat has held at least three individual protests including the bullock cart rally, sit-in demonstration near the Governor’s house and a rally over the fuel price hike issue. All these were held after he came out of home quarantine followed by a visit to Delhi amid the pandemic.
Believing that Rawat had managed to build a momentum in favour of the party, the top leadership of the Congress asked him earlier this week to guide the party to victory in 2022 state Assembly elections. Rawat assured the party leadership including state unit president Pritam Singh and leader of opposition Indira Hridayesh of contributing fully for the stated party cause.
Rawat said the party needed to pull together under Pritam Singh’s leadership to defeat the BJP, “I am ready to be present for the party wherever and whenever it needs me. We all have to put our differences to rest by sitting together and resolving them. Then only we can fight BJP in the state.”
Indira Hridayesh said Rawat’s position as a senior leader in the state was an important factor, “We all have to leave our differences behind with the sole motive of defeating the BJP in the 2022 elections. We all asked Rawat to guide the party towards that goal as he is a senior leader.”
Political experts believe Rawat has played his hand well to remind the party of his importance in Uttarakhand politics.
“Rawat is a very well seasoned politician. He knows when to play which card as he, too, is aware of his importance in the state Congress and Uttarakhand’s politics,” said MM Semwal, political expert and professor of political science at Garhwal Central University in Srinagar, Pauri Garhwal,
He added that Rawat’s individual protests refurbished his image of a leader with political heft and acumen.
“With the individual protests away from the party line, he was very successful in getting all the limelight and bringing Congress back into focus. It was evident from the fact that many top leaders of the ruling BJP had to come forward to counter him as they know him to be clever,” said Semwal.
Semwal claimed that Harish Rawat had reminded the Congress that his popularity, both in Garhwal and Kumaon regions of the state, made him difficult to sideline despite the loss in the last elections. He added that “Rawat definitely has his eyes set on fighting 2022 elections.”
The BJP however, took a dig at the developments in the state Congress and brushed it off as mere “show-off”.
“They are showing unity because they have been given a dose on the issue from their national leadership. Having said that, no matter what they do, we have a very strong worker base in every booth of the state which Congress can’t match,” said Bansidhar Bhagat, BJP state president.