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Another Ploy


A video clip has been provided to the media in which former CM Harish Rawat is having a conversation with Cabinet Minister Harak Singh Rawat. Former Minister Yashpal Arya is present and also interacts with Harak Singh. While the discussion is ostensibly about raising some issue of public interest, the impression being sought to be given is that Harak Singh is drawing close to the Congress leadership. This raises questions about the tactics being employed by a desperate Congress in the present political environment. Was Harak Singh Rawat aware that the conversation was being video-recorded? This is the kind of tactic scamsters use when seeking to impress someone regarding their proximity to powerful persons. How ethical is this kind of politics in a state like Uttarakhand?

There was no immediate reaction from the Cabinet Minister to this ‘revelation’, but people will be interested in knowing how real is the impression being sought to be given. Harish Rawat’s style of political management almost destroyed the Congress in the state during his term as Chief Minister. He has been severely criticised for his management of the crisis in Punjab by party stalwarts. The party must seriously consider whether he should be so central to its campaign as to overshadow other senior leaders.

Did the Congress High Command conduct a postmortem examination of its defeat in the last assembly election? Going by its approach, it seems unlikely. Not only has the person central to the debacle – Harish Rawat – continued to remain in the central leadership’s good books, he has repositioned himself in the state despite having been sidelined by the local leaders. This may be good for him, personally, but does he have the clout with the electorate to carry the party over the finish line?

One reason for all this maneuvering is the trend, thus far, of the state’s voter alternating between the two major national parties in each election. So, in the belief that it is now the turn of the Congress, the focus of the party leaders is more on dominating internal politics. Not committed to any particular political ideology, fence-sitters of Congress lineage in the BJP are also wondering whether it is time to jump ship. It is just the matter of obtaining a good deal.

All of this will come to naught if the BJP bucks the trend and returns to power on the back of a high nationalistic sentiment. It may see the culmination of many political careers, which would not be such a bad thing in the overall scheme of things.