M A I N   N E W S

U’khand CM quits, Rawat top choice
Himalayan tsunami takes toll on Bahuguna as Cong bows to state unit pressure
Tribune News Service

The stakes

Congress has 34 MLAs, BJP 30 in the 70-member House. BSP and some independents back Congress
Bahuguna’s anointment as CM post 2012 polls surprised Haridwar MP Harish Rawat. Rawat led his camp to boycott Bahuguna’s swearing-in
Of 5 LS seats, Congress has four. BJP won the Tehri Garhwal seat by defeating Saket Bahuguna, son of Vijay Bahuguna, in a 2012 by-election

In the race

Harish Rawat (pic), Haridwar MP and Central Water Resources Minister
Pritam Singh (Chakrata MLA), a Rawat protégé, who can be a consensus candidate of pro and anti-Bahuguna camps
State Finance Minister Indira Hridayesh, senior-most in the Bahuguna cabinet

Dehradun/New Delhi, January 31
The Congress today put an end to days of speculation over its Uttarakhand Chief Minister asking Vijay Bahuguna to quit his post.

Bahuguna submitted his resignation to Governor Dr Aziz Qureshi at Raj Bhawan. The Governor has accepted his resignation and asked him to continue till a new CM takes over. This paves the way for Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat to take charge as the eighth CM, party sources said.

After submitting his resignation, Bahuguna said he followed the party high command. A Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting is due tomorrow in Delhi in the presence of Ghulam Nabi Azad and party general secretary in charge of the state Ambika Soni.

Bahuguna said party MLAs would pass a one-line resolution authorising Sonia Gandhi to nominate a new CLP leader. Bahuguna’s removal follows his detractors’ campaign led by Harish Rawat charging the outgoing CM with failure to handle relief work after the natural disaster struck the state in June last year. The party brass was made to believe that Bahuguna’s continuation would affect party’s chances in the Lok Sabha polls due in a few months.

Out of the five Lok Sabha seats, the Congress has four. The BJP wrested the Tehri Garhwal seat by defeating Saket Bahuguna, son of Vijay Bahuguna, in a by-election in October 2012. The by-election was necessitated following Bahuguna’s elevation post January 2012 polls. Bahuguna represented Tehri Garhwal. The Congress had won all the five seats in 2009. “Party workers were feeling demoralized. We had to take a call keeping in mind the prevailing mood. We hope replacing Bahuguna will recharge the party as we go to the LS polls,” said a Congress leader.

Although Rawat is a favourite, there are at least two others. One is Pritam Singh (Chakrata MLA), a Rawat aide, and the other is state Finance Minister Indira Hridayesh, who is senior-most in the Bahuguna cabinet.





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