Home Dehradun Harish Rawat, Harak Singh spar over Haridwar LS Constituency

Harish Rawat, Harak Singh spar over Haridwar LS Constituency

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By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 9 Feb: The Haridwar Lok Sabha Constituency continues to remain a bone of contention between various Congress leaders, in particular, former Chief Minister Harish Rawat and former cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat. It may be recalled that Harish Rawat had won this seat in 2009. He had declared his intention to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Haridwar but due to strong opposition from within the Congress, he was made to contest from Nainital-US Nagar seat but lost to BJP’s Ajay Bhatt. Ambrish Kumar was given the Congress ticket from Haridwar in 2019 but he lost to the incumbent MP, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.  However, Harish Rawat continues to eye this seat even after he was made by the party in 2019 to switch over to Nainital-US Nagar Seat. In the year 2014, he had managed to get the party ticket for his wife, Renuka Rawat, but she had lost.

Despite the fact that BJP has been winning this seat since 2014, Congress sees this constituency as a potential win for it. It is for this reason that several Congress leaders are eyeing this seat. One of the reasons behind why Congress sees a strong chance to win this seat is the presence of a large number of Muslim voters, who in Uttarakhand are seen as a traditional vote bank of the Congress.

However, since the last time Harish Rawat won the seat in 2009, delimitation has happened and now this seat includes several areas of Dehradun City, which queers the pitch somewhat, but the Congress leaders still see this as a potential seat for them. This is because the Dharampur Assembly Seat of Dehradun district has seen significant demographic changes in the past 10 years with a significant increase in Muslim voters.

In the past few months, Harak Singh Rawat, having returned to the Congress party just before the 2022 Assembly Elections, has been laying claim to the Haridwar seat.

On the other hand, reacting sharply to Harak Singh Rawat’s claim on this seat, former Chief Minister Harish Rawat said, yesterday, that the people of the state have not forgotten the 2016 rebellion against the party by Harak Singh Rawat.

Harish Rawat continues to eye the Haridwar Lok Sabha seat for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. In such a situation he is now trying to remind the party of the rebellion against the party and his government that had been led by Vijay Bahuguna and Harak Singh. Yesterday, in an effort to resolve differences with his old protégé Pritam Singh, Harish Rawat had called on Pritam Singh at his residence. This development caused a lot of stir in the media. After coming out of Pritam Singh’s residence, Harish Rawat claimed that his misunderstanding with Pritam Singh had been resolved, but when asked about Harak Singh’s claim on the Haridwar seat, he said that the 2016 rebellion was the darkest chapter in the history of Uttarakhand politics and the Congress. Some Congress leaders had committed a huge sin against democracy and, therefore, there was no reason why this rebellion could be forgotten.

He said that Harak Singh was now paying for his sin and was out of power now. Due to him and some other Congress leaders, Congress has been forced to remain out of power for ten continuous years in Uttarakhand.

On the other hand, Harak Singh Rawat also reacted to the statements of Harish Rawat today. Speaking to the media, he claimed that it was not appropriate for anyone to talk about the 2016 rebellion now. That rebellion had its own reasons but now everyone needs to focus on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Harak Singh asserted that, if any Congress leader had any problems with him joining the Congress, he ought to have spoken to him directly at the time when he had returned. Now, it was meaningless to speak about a past incident. The more it was spoken about, more harm it would cause to the party’s interest.