Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has stumped his rival Vijay Bahuguna camp within ruling the Congress party and the state’s main opposition BJP.
While his government’s decision to implement pension scheme for priests has troubled the BJP, Congress Party’s Rajya Sabha ticket for his loyalist and former mayor of Dehradun Municipal Corporation Manorama Sharma Dobriyal is a clear message to his detractors within the Congress that Rawat is now under full command of the party affairs in Uttarakhand.
Former CM Vijay Bahuguna was allegedly in race to enter the Rajya Sabha as Congress nominee from Uttarakhand. In local media, the name of Congress veteran and former union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was highlighted as possible candidate for Congress Party’s RS ticket from Uttarakhand. “Initially, both the camps – separately headed by CM Rawat and former CM Bahuguna – were against the selection of an outsider as Congress nominee for RS seat. Once it was decided that Congress would select its local leader, the Rawat camp prevailed over the party high-command and ensured ticket for its loyalist Manorama Dobriyal,” a source close to Rawat said.
Dobriyal is a surprising choice for the state Congress. Earlier, Rawat had got selected his loyalist Kishore Upadhayay as the new president of Uttarakhand Congress. Bahuguna’s loyalist and Congress MLA from Narendra Nagar Subodh Uniyal were in race for the post of Congress president of Uttarakhand unit.
On the contrary, Rawat has been continuing to target the main opposition BJP on the same issues which suits the BJP’s political interest in Uttarakhand. Rawat first troubled the BJP by inviting Baba Ramdev and his close aide Balkrishna to visit Kedarnath to see the reconstruction works undertaken by the state government. Now, he has sent the BJP’s state leaders into a tizzy by planning to launch a pension scheme for priests.
“The CM would formally launch the pension scheme for priests on the state’s foundation day on November 9. There is nothing wrong in a scheme to give pension of Rs 800 to priests in Uttarakhand,” said media advisor to CM Surendra Agrawal. He also added that the CM is also planning to focus on initiatives for madarasa teachers and maulvies in the state.
Sources in the government said Rawat has already discussed his new idea to grant ministerial status to mayors and chairmen of Zila Panchayats in the state. “He is seriously considering to give ministerial status to mayors and chairman of the Zila Panchayats,” a source in the government said.