A day after being reinstated as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat Thursday arrived in Delhi along with his council of ministers and met Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Rawat also said that as chief minister he was always willing to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the development of the state.
He, however, evaded questions about advancing the state Assembly elections, which are due next year, or about the expansion of his Cabinet.
Asked about the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle or snap polls in the state, Rawat said: “That will happen when the time comes. Right now, the priority is to restore the development of Uttarakhand, which has got derailed in the last two months. The state’s development momentum has got a jolt, which we have to bring back…This is the biggest priority before our Cabinet and the government, and we are focussed on that. Uttarakhand wants development. We want to grow in our own way. Our fight is against poverty.”
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He also made it clear that there was no scope for rapprochement with the rebels who had joined hands with the BJP. Insisting that his purpose was “not getting into confrontation” with anybody, he said: “This is not a matter of victory or defeat. If this is any victory, it is of the people of Uttarakhand, state and democracy. I would like to turn it into the victory for development. I would like to take all possible support from the central government for it,” said Rawat.
Asked if he feared reprisal from the BJP-led central government, he said: “I will not like to talk about fear and apprehension. I will only talk about expectation. Our expectation is that we bring back development and maintain that momentum. I will welcome the support of all for this.”
Describing his meeting with the Congress president as “very good”, he said that he thanked Sonia Gandhi on behalf of partymen and people of Uttarakhand. “I also wanted to thank Rahulji, but the meeting could not take place,” he added.
During the course of the day, Rawat also chaired the first meeting of his Cabinet after being reinstated as the chief minister.The Cabinet decided to quickly implement decisions taken recently.