Over a day marked by sharp comments on former chief minister of Punjab and senior leader of Congress Amarinder Singh, Uttarakhand Congress leader and former CM of the hill state Harish Rawat has said that he will request the party leadership to relieve him of the Punjab chapter responsibility. Rawat is the affairs in-charge for Punjab and has been deeply involved in efforts to set things in order in the Congress party in Punjab.
On Singh, Rawat has reportedly said: "Who can stop him if he can't stay with his old commitment to secularism? He was considered a symbol of 'Sarvdharm Sambhav' and was connected to Congress' traditions for long. If he wants to go, he should."
Rawat's handling of Punjab affairs at a time when his home state Uttarakhand is moving closer to Assembly polls could be a matter of concern to him at this point.
Incidentally, Rawat's request comes on a day when he has been giving statements to different sections of the media on Amarinder Singh, who is reported to be on his way to float a new party. As news poured in about Singh being open to the idea of floating a new party and allying with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rawat reacted to the news with sharp comments on the former chief minister of Punjab.
"Who can forgive BJP that has kept farmers at the borders for 10 months? Can Punjab forgive them for the manner in which farmers' agitation has been dealt with? His statement is really shocking. It seems he has killed the 'secular Amarinder' within him," Rawat has been quoted as adding.
In Uttarakhand, the need for Rawat's presence in Punjab has been a subject of reports in several sections of the media. "I will be able to do justice to my karmabhoomi (Punjab), only if I am able to do right by my janmabhoomi (Uttarakhand)," Rawat has been quoted as saying.
On Singh, Rawat added that it was a battle to help the BJP.
Assembly polls will be held in Punjab and Uttarakhand in 2022. The Congress is hoping to retain power in Punjab and wants to return to power in Uttarakhand, where the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party are its challengers.
Rawat is reported to have said that he had made a similar request in August and had expressed his wish to continue as Punjab affairs in-charge if the party wanted him to continue. Now, he says that he has made up his mind. "I have made up my mind that I will request the party leadership to allow me to dedicate myself completely to Uttarakhand. Therefore, the party should relieve me of my responsibilities in Punjab," he is quoted to have said.
On Singh, Rawat has reportedly said that the former chief minister's announcement of floating a new party will not hurt the Congress. He added that it will divide the votes of Congress's rivals in Punjab. He has been quoted as saying: "Our votes will depend on the performance of the Channi government. The way Channi has started, it has created a good impression before Punjab and the entire nation."
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