By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 26 Mar: Even as merely three days remain for the first session of Fifth Assembly of Uttarakhand, Congress has not been able to decide who will be the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly. Meanwhile the lobbying for the post has intensified in the party, but sources claim that former Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh and Dharchula MLA Harish Dhami lead the race for the post. Sources further claim that In charge of the party affairs in Uttarakhand, Devendra Yadav is expected to arrive before 29 March to oversee the selection of the Leader of the Opposition. It may be recalled that the post of Leader of the Opposition carries perks and facilities equivalent to the rank of Cabinet Minister and they include allotment of Bangalow, official car and staff as well as office in Vidhan Sabha Bhawan and therefore there is intense lobbying for the post. Of course in the last assembly, till her death, Indira Hridayesh was the Leader of the Opposition and later the post was handed over to Pritam Singh by the party though, often, there was no coordination seen between the Congress legislators though they numbered to be just 11 and several of them appeared to defy the directions of the Leader of the Opposition in the House. It may be recalled that just around seven months before the elections, the then PCC Chief Pritam Singh had been removed from his post and replaced with Ganesh Godiyal, who was close to Party’s National General Secretary Harish Rawat. In order to placate Singh, the party had appointed him the Leader of the Opposition. However, after a stunning defeat of the party as well as personally of Ganesh Godiyal who narrowly lost to Dhan Singh Rawat, Godiyal was asked to resign as PCC Chief by the party high command. It therefore remains to be seen who will now be elected as Leader of the Opposition, and who will be elected as the Pradesh Congress Committee Chief. Harish Dhami is considered close to Harish Rawat while Pritam Singh himself leads the rival faction. Previously deputy leader of the Congress Legislative Party, Karan Mahra also lost his election so this time, he too is out of the race. Harish Rawat is also not a member of the House having lost his own election from Lalkua. Sources close to him however claimed that if it is not Harish Rawat, it could still be someone other than Pritam Singh.