Updated: March 23, 2016 2:04:45 pm
When Congress won the 2012 Assembly polls in Uttarakhand, the most likely candidate for the CM’s post was Harish Rawat. In quintessential Congress style, Rawat, who was then a Union minister, remained in Delhi and Vijay Bahuguna became the Chief Minister — a post he held till mishandling of the 2013 Uttarakhand floods forced him to step down.
That sudden act of political empowerment Bahuguna owed to his proximity to the Gandhi family and his provenance is now being used against the Congress to destabilise the Rawat government. Party circles believe that Bahuguna never came to terms with the loss of power. They claim he is the glue that is binding the rebel Congress MLAs on whose strength the BJP has approached Governor K K Paul, saying that Rawat does not have majority.
Bahuguna, a former high court judge, is the son of former UP CM Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and brother of former UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Both brother and sister are known to be close to the Congress high command and there are chances Rita Bahuguna may be roped in to deal with her disgruntled brother, said party sources.
For some time, the Congress has been abuzz with the speculation that not all is well with Uttarakhand and that Rawat’s party colleagues were not happy with his style of functioning. But what happened on Friday took the government and the party by surprise.
Among those who walked out of the Assembly Friday afternoon was Agriculture Minister Harak Singh Rawat, another leader Bahuguna had pipped to the CM’s post four years ago. A Dalit, he had been promoted by the Congress to counter the rising influence of the BSP in the state.
Said a Congress leader: “This is a crisis of our own making. First we denied the rightful claimant the CM’s post and when the replacement could not perform, he was removed. So now we have two leaders of equal stature in the state. It is a perfect recipe for dissidence.”
The Congress leadership, meanwhile, has accused PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of indulging in “Aya Ram Gaya Ram” politics. “They have become infamous for forcible evacuation of elected governments. So, illegal unconstitutional and sinister means are being adopted to unseat governments through lure of power and money,” said AICC media-in-charge Randeep Surjewala Saturday.
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