Home Dehradun Cong on the brink of big crisis in Uttarakhand

Cong on the brink of big crisis in Uttarakhand

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By Our Staff Reporter 
DEHRADUN, 17 March: In 2022, Jot Singh Bisht a hardcore Congress leader in Uttarakhand joined AAP citing his differences with senior party leaders.
But after two years, Bisht has now joined BJP. He jokingly once said he went to the party’s headquarters in Dehradun after removing the last barricade which was stopping him from joining the saffron brigade. In a way he suggested that Congress leaders are now free to join the utopia called BJP.
More than two months after Bisht joined the ruling party, a top BJP leader made a wisecrack saying the party should put the barricade back to check the heavy rush of Congress leaders who are knocking at the doors of the party. Literally, Congress is on the brink of a big crisis in the hill state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections as a large number of party leaders mostly from Garhwal region have switched sides to join BJP in the past few months.
On Sunday, Congress MLA from Badrinath Rajendra Singh Bhandari joined BJP along with his supporters. On Saturday, two former Congress MLAs Malchand and Vijaypal Singh Sajwan joined the saffron party. “Congress is shrinking and BJP is expanding,” said a political observer.
This is not the first time that Congress is facing a big crisis in the hill state. After his triumph in the legal and political battle against BJP in the aftermath of the March 18 rebellion in 2016 by 9 Congress MLAs, the party strongman Harish Rawat, who was then Chief Minister, had emerged politically stronger in the party with most of his adversaries such as Vijay Bahuguna and Harak Singh Rawat joining BJP. Satpal Maharaj, another bete noire of Rawat, had quit the party soon after Rawat became the Chief Minister on February 1, 2014.
In the beginning of 2014, Rawat was given the top job in the state for the sole purpose of boosting the sagging image of the ruling party that had suffered a dent especially after the 2013 Kedarnath deluge. Ignoring the vehement opposition from the majority of the party MLAs, the high command especially Rahul Gandhi had reposed faith in the leadership of Rawat.
In the month of March, the rebellion in the Congress led to the imposition of the President’s rule for the first time in the hill state albeit for a short period. After fighting the legal battle in the High Court and the Supreme Court, Rawat was reinstated as Chief Minister. For the reinstatement of Rawat, Congress was forced to pay a heavy price in terms of the desertion of the rebels. “Even when one MLA leaves, it becomes a setback for any party. But in our party, not only one but ten MLAs had left at that time which in turn weakened the party considerably,” said a top state party leader. Significantly, most of the ten MLAs were from Garhwal region only. In 2024 the picture is no different as the majority of the leaders who have joined BJP are from Garhwal region only.
“These leaders who are joining BJP now will shortly realize their mistake. You will see very soon that they will come back to Congress fold,” claimed Suryakant Dhasmana, vice president of the state Congress.
Though Congress has declared three candidates from Tehri, Pauri and Almora, it is yet to announce two candidates for Haridwar and Nainital seats. The party is facing difficulty due to internal squabbling, Congress sources said.