Rawat loyalists skip oath-taking ceremony

Union Minister Harish Rawat,who spearheaded a rebellion against the nomination of Vijay Bahuguna as Uttarakhand Chief Minister

Written by D K Singh | Dehradun/new Delhi | Published: March 16, 2012 12:32 am

Union Minister Harish Rawat,who spearheaded a rebellion against the nomination of Vijay Bahuguna as Uttarakhand Chief Minister,was learnt to have mellowed down after long deliberations with senior party colleagues over the past three days,but the political crisis in the state appears to be far from resolved with Rudraprayag MLA Harak Singh Rawat,another CM contender,who had joined hands with Harish,continuing to put up defiance. On Thursday,only 15 of the 32 Congress MLAs took oath — four more than the number of party MLAs who attended Bahuguna’s swearing-in on Tuesday.

Sources said Harish held a meeting with Ahmed Patel,political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi,and had long deliberations with AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh and Union Minister Anand Sharma. “He is not going to rebel… This crisis will be over soon,” said one of the leaders who held talks with Harish. He is,however,learnt to be finding it difficult to back off given the pressure from MLAs who have rallied around him. The other absent leader was Indira Hridyesh,who,too,harboured chief ministerial ambitions.

However,it is not yet clear how many of the 17 Congress MLAs who stayed away were Harish Rawat loyalists. The legislator representing Chakrata,Pritam Singh,considered close to him,was one of the 15 to take oath. On the other hand,Khanpur MLA Kunvar Pranav Singh ‘Champion’,a supporter of Bahuguna,was absent.

In a saving grace for the government,the seven non-Congress MLAs who prop it up took oath. The presence of all three Independents,three BSP MLAs and the lone UKD legislator ensured that Bahuguna breathed easier.

However,Independent MLA Mantri Prasad Naithani raised the issue of the Cabinet position for himself and other Independents immediately after the oath-taking ceremony.

Bahuguna is scheduled to travel to Delhi on Friday to meet Sonia Gandhi.

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