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Uttarakhand Congress divided over return of Harak Singh Rawat

Congress campaign committee chief Harish Rawat is said to be opposed to the reinduction of the former BJP minister into the party, but a section of Congress’s central and state leadership is pushing for it.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
Updated: January 18, 2022 9:57:44 am
Harak Singh Rawat in New Delhi on Monday. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

The possibility of the return of senior Uttarakhand leader Harak Singh Rawat, who was expelled by the BJP Sunday, to the Congress has divided the party’s state unit.

Congress campaign committee chief Harish Rawat is said to be opposed to the reinduction of the former BJP minister into the party, but a section of Congress’s central and state leadership is pushing for it. Sources close to Harish Rawat, former Uttarakhand CM, said he has conveyed his view to the central leadership but at the same time he would not push his opinion beyond a point, given that he has the responsibility to lead the party to victory in the hill-state.

Explained

Bone of contention

At the heart of the opposition to Harak Singh Rawat’s return to Congress is the fact that former Uttarakhand CM and senior Congress leader Harish Rawat has not forgiven him for toppling his government in 2016. Rawat has made it clear that Harak Rawat will have to apologise for what he had done.

Constant rumblings, sources said, could create a perception that Congress is a divided house. “If the Central leadership still insists on inducting him… then let them do it. He (Harish Rawat) has told them what he had to,” a source said. “Harak Rawat’s reinduction is not in the interest of the party, but it is also not in the interest of the party if there are rumblings every day. It doesn’t look good on Harish-ji.” But sources in Congress’s central leadership insisted that Harak Rawat’s induction is just a matter of time. “It could be tomorrow as well,” a senior leader said. There is no clarity on whether any other BJP MLA would join with him. Sources said one BJP MLA, considered close to Harak Rawat, had reached Delhi with him on Sunday night but left for Dehradun after a meeting with a senior Union minister.

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Sources said CLP leader Pritam Singh, who doesn’t share a very good equation with Harish Rawat, and AICC in-charge of the state Devendra Yadav are in favour of re-inducting Harak Rawat, who played a major role in destabilising the Rawat government in 2016. And the former CM has not forgiven him for that. Harish Rawat said, “What happened on March 18 (2016)…people who brought down the government… are a blot on parliamentary democracy… Those responsible for that should apologise…” On whether he would welcome Harak Rawat, Rawat said: “I would not like to comment. Individuals are not important. Party will take a collective decision,” he said.

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