By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 13 Jul: Even as the Congress party has been, so far, unable to decide on the next PCC Chief and the new Leader of the Opposition in Uttarakhand, it is clearly emerging that it will not project anyone as the CM in Uttarakhand.
This was today reiterated by the present PCC Chief, Pritam Singh, in New Delhi, as well as the party spokesperson Ragini Nayak in Rishikesh. Speaking to media persons in New Delhi, PCC Chief Singh today declared that the Congress had decided not to project anyone as the prospective CM in Uttarakhand for the assembly polls due in March, next year. He added that the party would contest the assembly elections in a collective manner as it had done in the past. He reminded that, in the years 2002, 2007 and 2012, the party had not projected anyone as the CM and yet it had won the 2002 and the 2012 assembly polls.
Singh said that the party had prepared a concrete roadmap keeping in mind the 2022 elections, but the programmes were unfortunately hampered due to the sudden and untimely death of senior party leader Dr Indira Hridayesh. Singh further claimed that promises to provide free electricity were basically election gimmicks and the Congress had, so far, not taken any decision on this issue. Whatever promises Congress would make would be included in the party manifesto. If voted to power, the party would implement its election manifesto. It may be recalled that, following the announcement by Power Minister of Uttarakhand, Dr Harak Singh of free 100 units of power and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) President Arvind Kejriwal promising 300 units of power in Uttarakhand, senior Congress leader Harish Rawat, too, had promised 200 units of free power.
Ragini Nayak, who was in Rishikesh, today, also said that, wherever the party was in opposition in any state, traditionally it never projected anyone as the prospective CM. She added that Congress being the main opposition party in Uttarakhand, it would not declare a CM’s face here for the upcoming assembly elections.
Meanwhile, the party continues to be in a dilemma over the past one month over who should be the Leader of the Opposition in Uttarakhand and whether to change the PCC Chief or not. Senior Congress leaders continued to camp in New Delhi to discuss and take a final decision in this regard with the approval of the Congress High Command. Several rounds of talks have been held between the senior party leaders like PCC Chief Pritam Singh, former PCC Chief Kishore Upadhyay, former CM Harish Rawat, Prakash Joshi and Qazi Nizamuddin with the Party High Command led by former Party President Rahul Gandhi. Today, these leaders held yet another round of talks with Rahul Gandhi but there seems to be no consensus arrived as yet! Party sources claim that a final decision in this regard is expected in next two to three days. Sources further claim that Karan Mahra still leads the race for the post of Leader of the Opposition, though there is a strong opposition to his name from the Pritam Singh camp! Mahra is backed by Harish Rawat for the post. On the other hand, for the post of PCC Chief, the Harish Rawat camp is pressing for appointing former party MLA Ganesh Godiyal. The Harish Rawat camp claims that this would balance the regional and the caste equations. Godiyal is a Brahmin leader from Garhwal (Srinagar constituency) and Mahra is a Rajput leader from Kumaon. Sources claim that, if Mahra is made the Leader of the Opposition, then Singh will have to make way for someone else as PCC Chief to create a regional and caste balance. Singh, perhaps aware that he might have to go, is pressing for Bhuvan Kapri from Udham Singh Nagar.