New Delhi, January 17
The ruling BJP has dismissed Harak Singh Rawat, a cabinet minister in the Uttarakhand Government, and expelled him from the primary membership of the party.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has written to the Governor, informing about the decision.
Harak Singh’s expulsion shows the BJP does not tolerate indiscipline or bow down to pressure of any kind, party leaders said.
Dhami said Harak Singh was expelled as he was “mounting pressure” for tickets to family members for the upcoming polls.
“The BJP tried to take him along despite the fact that he caused considerable issues but when he began mounting pressure for a ticket for himself as well as family members, the party had to take a decision,” Dhami said, adding that the BJP is against “dynasty politics and follows the path of development and nationalism”.
Senior leaders also quoted the case of Utpal Parrikar, a son of late leader Manohar Parrikar who has been seeking a BJP ticket from Panaji—a seat that his father represented for several years—and late Ananth Kumar who used to contest from Bangalore South, now represented by Tejasvi Surya.
“The BJP is clear...no one is bigger than the party,” they said.
Harak Singh is believed to have been seeking at least “three” tickets.
Dhami said: “We will not give tickets to two people from the same family. We have decided not to give a ticket to more than one person from a family. Our party has always been against it”.
Denying any division in the party, he said: “No BJP MLA is going anywhere”.
An emotional Harak Singh accused the BJP of removing him without speaking to him.
Predicting a victory for the Congress, Harak Singh said: “They (BJP) did not talk to me once before taking such a big decision. If I had not left Congress to join BJP, I would have resigned from the BJP four years ago. I don’t have much interest in being a minister, I just wanted to work for the welfare of people”.
Denying that he was already in talks with the party, he claimed the BJP will not be able to do ‘thod-phod’ in other parties like they had earlier now. “The wind is blowing in favour of Congress and I will work for the party that comes to power,” said Harak Singh, one of MLAs who rebelled against Congress leader Harish Rawat and switched to the BJP in 2016.
Harish Rawat though did not seem too elated at the prospect of his bete noire returning to the party.
Representing the Kotdwar seat, Harak Singh is believed to have been demanding a ticket for daughter-in-law Anukriti Gusain from Lansdowne and a change of seat for himself.
For the past few weeks several attempts were made by the BJP to placate him. Dhami also met him over lunch over his demand for a medical college in his constituency after he threatened to quit.
At the same time, he is also believed to have been holding “secret meetings” with Congress leaders, much to the chagrin of the BJP leaders.
“The highly ambitious Harak Singh wants to become the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. He was instrumental in getting Trivendra Singh Rawat being removed as the CM last year. His relationship with Harish Rawat is well known,” observers say.
A regular party hopper, Harak Singh has been in different political parties in past three decades.
Notably both Congress and BJP have held meetings to finalise the name of candidates.
Apparently, some Congress members willing to switch sides are also in touch with the BJP, say sources.
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