LUCKNOW: The consequence of the Congress high command’s weakening authority following the party’s pathetic performance in Uttar Pradesh was seen in Uttarakhand where the majority of the MLAs led by Minister of State, Harish Rawat, rebelled against party chief Sonia Gandhi’s decision of naming Vijay Bahuguna as the new chief minister. Till late on Tuesday night Rawat refused to fall in line despite repeated warnings.
A virtual split in the legislature party and the organisation in Uttarakhand reduced the swearing-in ceremony of Bahuguna to a ridiculous situation as only 11 of the 32 MLAs were present at the oath-taking ceremony on Tuesday in Dehradun.
Bahuguna’s arch rival, MP Satpal Maharaj, was also present on the occasion along with two former chief ministers Bhuwan Chand Khanduri and Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank. Bahuguna’s two arch rivals within the Congress, Harish Rawat and Harak Singh Rawat, also joined hands. Congress MP from Almorah, Pradeep Tamta, was most vocal against Bahuguna by saying that he would not be able to prove his majority on the floor of the House.
The rebellion against Sonia was led by Rawat, who had resigned from his MoS post on Monday to mark his protest against the decision of anointing Bahuguna as the CM as he was pushing for his own candidature. Since Uttarakhand has not given a clear mandate like UP, initially the party struggled to cobble up a majority by weaning BSP MLAs and some independents to produce the majority mark of 36 in the House of 70 before the governor to stake its claim.
When the Congress got the required number of MLAs, the high command with senior leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Virendra Singh and Ahmed Patel, finalised Vijay Bahuguna and declared it in Delhi on Monday.