M A I N   N E W S

Congress confident of placating Rawat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Dehradun, March 14
The ‘revolted’ Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Food Processing, Harish Rawat, was again conspicuous by his absence in Parliament today, although the ‘revolt’ by him and his supporters appeared to have simmered down.

Rawat had categorically said yesterday that he would remain loyal to the Congress and that his limited objective was to demonstrate his following among the newly elected MLAs in Uttarakhand. Upset at being ignored for the Chief Minister’s office for the second time, Rawat said he would have been satisfied if the leaders had told him that he was not being considered for the position. But a general secretary of the party apparently slighted him by saying that there were only six MLAs with him.

On Wednesday too Rawat remained closeted with his supporters at his residence in the national capital. Arrangements were being made to accommodate more of his supporters, expected to arrive from different parts of Uttarakhand. One of the MLAs present at his residence today claimed that the number of MLAs in the Rawat camp had swelled to 19. The Congress has won 32 seats in the Assembly, one more than the BJP and has installed former High Court judge Vijay Bahuguna as the Chief Minister.

While the next course of action of Rawat and his supporters remained unclear, Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi and the newly sworn in CM downplayed Rawat’s ‘revolt’. Alvi said that reports of the ‘revolt’ were created and hyped by the media and the Minister of State would certainly be attending Parliament. Sources close to Rawat, however, confirmed that he had offered to step down as Minister after being bypassed in favour of Bahuguna.

Meanwhile, at Dehradun the newly elected CM held a meeting with senior officials and asked to be briefed about pending projects,policies and priorities. The Chief Minister also visited the party office, where he was given a rousing reception.





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