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Modi tsunami destroyed our work: Harish Rawat

Confident about proving his majority if the floor test is held on April 29, Rawat dismissed the BJP’s claim of enjoying a majority.

Written by Devyani Onial | Dehradun |
Updated: April 24, 2016 2:06:04 am
harish rawat, uttarakhand, narendra modi, modi govt, bjp, congress, congress rebels, congress news, uttarakhand news, india news Harish Rawat in Dehradun on Saturday. (Express Photo by Virender Singh Negi)

A day after he went back to being the former chief minister of Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat looked his usual unruffled self, making jokes, pointing to a laughing photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the wall before declaring, “Mogambo khush hua”. But he was worried.

“I am now a very worried man. My task was always difficult, now it is even more uphill. We had a roadmap for the state, but now that rhythm has been broken. I have to start afresh. I have only a few months left and to become a good chief minister is a daunting task,” said Rawat, speaking exclusively to The Sunday Express.

Rawat took over as CM of the hill state from Vijay Bahuguna, now the leader of the nine Congress rebels, in the aftermath of the 2013 Kedarnath disaster and its mismanagement. With the Uttarakhand assembly polls scheduled for 2017, Rawat fears time is running out for him. “One tsunami destroyed everything in the state in 2013, now the second, Modi tsunami, has destroyed everything we built in these past two years,’’ he said.

Confident about proving his majority if the floor test is held on April 29, Rawat dismissed the BJP’s claim of enjoying a majority. The BJP has 28 members, the Congress had 36 MLAs before the nine rebels were disqualified and enjoys the support of six MLAs of the Progressive Democratic Front in a House of 70 members (the 71st is nominated). “The BJP says they can form a majority. I don’t know what mathematics they are working with,” said Rawat.

But what if the nine Congress rebels are allowed to vote on April 29? “With the matter of the rebels still in court, I won’t like to comment on it, except to say that the one thing that is clear is that the spirit of the anti-defection Bill is to curb the Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram phenomenon,” he replied.

While the breakaway group has brought into open the fissures that have always run deep in the Uttarakhand Congress, Rawat denied the charge that he couldn’t keep his house in order. “If someone had a grouse, they should have found a solution within the party. This can’t be a justification for defection. Otherwise, in a small state, you can always have a situation where two-three people are unhappy… what if they join the opposition,” he said.

To criticism that he didn’t reach out to the disgruntled in his party, Rawat said nothing could be further from the truth. “I have accommodated them to the hilt…It was a fishy deal with the BJP that only God, they themselves or their bank balances can tell,” he said. “This defection is engineered by forces outside the state,” he added.

Responding to criticism that he showed undue haste in calling two cabinet meetings in the 24 hours that he was reinstated as CM after the Uttarakhand High Court quashed President’s Rule on Thursday, Rawat said, “If I didn’t start work, I would have been guilty of creating a void in Uttarakhand…. In the first cabinet meeting, about 12-13 decisions were taken… The second cabinet meeting…was necessitated by the high court order that fixed the date of the floor test. On whose request would the floor test take place? So, it was obligatory for me to hold a cabinet meeting to request the Speaker to hold a floor test,” he said.

Stating that the ramifications of the political battle go beyond Uttarakhand, he said: “Initially it was a battle between Harish Rawat and the local BJP. But now, it’s a war between democratic, secular forces and Modi, Amit Shah. I am just a small person, but I could be a catalyst.”


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