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Friday, February 26, 2021

Uttarakhand: Congress forms panel amid tussle over CM face

Party state in-charge Devender Yadav is chairperson of 13-member committee, which was announced by AICC general secretary K C Venugopal.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun |
February 5, 2021 1:35:10 am
Congress lost power in the state in 2017 when it contested under the leadership of Rawat, the then CM. (Express/File)

AMID A tussle between top leaders of the Uttarakhand Congress over the chief ministerial face for the 2022 assembly polls, the party central leadership on Thursday intervened by constituting a coordination committee with immediate effect.

Party state in-charge Devender Yadav is chairperson of 13-member committee, which was announced by AICC general secretary K C Venugopal. Party state chief Pritam Singh, CLP leader Indira Hridayesh, former CM Harish Rawat, former party state chief Kishore Upadhyaya, Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Tamta are among the members of the committee.

A senior party leader said, “From now, if any party leader has any issue related to the organisation and programmes for the 2022 assembly polls, he will have to take it up with the coordination committee for discussion before speaking in public. A similar committee was formed in 2018 ahead of the Lok Sabha polls but that committee had been inactive for a long time. A new committee was announced today.”

The party leader said this committee will take strategic decisions of the state Congress for the upcoming assembly by-polls and the assembly elections next year and forward the recommendations to the central leadership for final approval.

The committee has been formed at a time when the tussle between senior Congress leaders in the state over the chief ministerial face for 2022 assembly polls is appearing to intensify, giving an opportunity to the BJP and AAP to target the party.

A few days ago, Rawat demanded that the party declare its “commander-in-chief” who will be the CM face for the assembly polls. Rawat, also an AICC general secretary, has been arguing that “confusion” over the CM candidate can be damaging for the party.

Other state leaders, however, advocated for a “collective leadership” during the polls instead of a CM face.

Rawat then appealed to the party to remove him from the line of “collective leadership” and declare either party state chief Pritam Singh or Leader of Opposition Indira Hridayesh as the CM face.

CLP leader Hridayesh has targeted Rawat, saying he was doing it to get himself declared as the CM candidate. She said Pritam Singh is “senapati” of the party organisation in his capacity as state PCC chief. Hridayesh also approached Venugopal over the issue.

Congress lost power in the state in 2017 when it contested under the leadership of Rawat, the then CM. The party was reduced to 11 seats and Rawat himself faced defeat in two seats – Haridwar Rural and Kichha.

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