Uttarakhand: Meeting With Rahul Gandhi Done, 'Upset' Harish Rawat Has Tilted Attention Towards Himself, Says He Will Lead The Poll Campaign

by Swarajya Staff - Dec 24, 2021 06:01 PM +05:30 IST
Uttarakhand: Meeting With Rahul Gandhi Done, 'Upset' Harish Rawat Has Tilted Attention Towards Himself, Says He Will Lead The Poll Campaign Former chief minister of Uttarakhand and Congress general secretary Harish Rawat. (Photo: Harish Rawat/Facebook)
Snapshot
  • Rawat's meeting with Rahul Gandhi seems to have put to rest, at least for now, speculations regarding his "taking rest" or going for retirement.

Former chief minister of Uttarakhand and senior congress leader Harish Rawat reportedly met Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. The meeting between the two leaders happened amid reports that all was not well with Rawat within the party. Sections of the media said that Rawat is unhappy "with the style of functioning of AICC state in charge Devender Yadav". Some reports say that he was upset at getting sidelined. The Congress has been in news in the state for the "infighting" and "factions".

Following Rawat's post on Twitter, Uttarakhand Congress president Ganesh Godiyal reportedly said that he shares Rawat's feelings. He added that it was an organisational matter, hinting at consultation with the top leadership in the party.

Rawat's meeting with Gandhi seems to have put to rest, at least for now, speculations regarding his "taking rest" or going for retirement. Rawat was in Delhi after several hours from writing the post. The ANI has quoted him saying: "Kadam, kadam badhaye ja, Congress ke geet gaye ja...I will be the face of election campaigning in Uttarakhand."

Rawat has said that it has been decided (in the meeting with Rahul Gandhi) that he will lead the campaign of Congress in the upcoming assembly polls in Uttarakhand in the capacity of the chairman of the campaign committee.

He added that everyone in the party will cooperate with him in the task. He added that he had said in Dehradun, "kadam kadam milayeja, Congress ki geet gaye ja, yeh zindagi hai Uttarakhand ki, Uttarakhand par lutayeja."

News 18 has reported that he spoke to Priyanka Gandhi after making the posts where he seemed upset.

Going by his popularity in the state and the events that have unfolded within the Congress after his post on social media, Rawat seems to have tilted concerns of the top leadership towards him ahead of 2022 polls.

In his post on Twitter that led to Rawat's unhappiness coming out in the open in the public sphere, he said that “power” has “left several crocodiles” in the “ocean of elections”. He added that representatives of those on whose orders he is supposed to swim, are tying his hands. He added that “it is time to rest”. The post came a week after Gandhi's own visit to Dehradun for a rally.

The phrases in his post "jinke aadesh par tairna hai" (on whose orders he is supposed to swim); "bahut ho gaya , bahut tair liye, ab vishram ka samay hai (it's enough; have swum enough; it is time to rest)" indicated that the outburst could be from a series of events within the party that have hurt Rawat. It was a reason of worry for the Congress.

The state leaders were called to Delhi for a meeting with Rahul Gandhi.

Rawat's post on Twitter had dropped a hint that there could be differences of opinion regarding his roles within Uttarakhand Congress ahead of the Vidhan Sabha polls in 2022 and that he is not happy with the current scenario. Devendra Yadav, another senior Congress leader from Uttarakhand was also present at the meeting between Rawat and Gandhi, reports say.

Rawat got support from leaders in the party after his post on Twitter. The post raised a question: whether Rawat was hinting at taking retirement. It naturally pointed at a stir within the party and in the prospects of Rawat within the party that's challenging the BJP in the assembly polls in the presence of a third player -- the Aam Aadmi Party.

Sections of the media in Uttarakhand have said that Rawat's post on Twitter could be his way of asserting pressure ahead of the 2022 polls. A report on the Aaj Tak website says that Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) Pradip Tamta has said that Rawat must become the face of Congress for the assembly polls in 2022. There have been several speculations on whom his gripe was aimed at. Former chief minister of Punjab Captain Amrinder Singh reacted to Rawat's stance in a post on Twitter. He said in the tweet: "You reap what you sow".

The remaining contents in Singh's post on Twitter hinted that Singh was making a reference to Rawat's role in the party affairs in Punjab. Rawat was working as a trouble shooter for the Congress in the situation of deep discord where Singh found him on the opposite side of other prominent leaders in the state chapter. Singh resigned. He had to step down from the top post in the state. He left the party.

Rawat's posts hinted that a similar scenario could be forming in Uttarakhand. However, the state and national leadership seems to have arrived in a comfortable position after the Rawat-Gandhi meeting.

Meanwhile senior leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Pritam Singh, has said that Congress will form government in the state in 2022. He has reportedly added that the national leadership will take the decision on who would be the CM face.

Prior to the situation of discord that unfolded in Punjab that kept Rawat engrossed in troubleshooting and firefighting, Pritam Singh was emerging as a leader who could become the face of Uttarakhand Congress in 2022. For now, Rawat seems to have an upper hand.

Then came the important event of transport minister in the Pushkar Singh Dhami cabinet Yashpal Arya, and his son, exiting the BJP and joining the Congress. The development happened around the time when Rawat, during his role in Punjab as in charge, had stated that he “wants to see a Dalit CM in Uttarakhand also.”

Rawat’s comment was noticeable as the Congress had appointed Charanjit Singh Channi -- the first Dalit Sikh chief minister of Punjab. Rawat's role in ending the crisis in Punjab enhanced his position as a senior leader in the party who was loyal and who would go to any length in order to help his own party get across difficult patches.

After the crisis was over, he was seen actively taking back his own space. However, not everyone, including Manish Tewari seems impressed with the issues within the party.

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