Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna left for New Delhi on Friday to meet dissident MLAs supporting Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Agriculture Harish Rawat and find an amicable solution to the standoff. Over the next two days, he will also submit a report to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and seek her guidance.
Meanwhile, three more Congress MLAs — Kunwar Pranav Singh ‘Champion,' Jeetram and Pradeep Batra — took the oath in the Protem Speaker's chambers on Friday, taking the number in the Bahuguna camp to 18 in a House of 32.
A group of Mr. Rawat's supporters took out a solidarity candle march from the Congress Bhavan to the Clock Tower here.
“I am the opening batsman facing bouncers,” Mr. Bahuguna told The Hindu. “I am going to meet the dissidents with an open mind and will accept all the demands that are within the limits of democratic decency.”
“In touch with Rawat”
Asked how he proposed to solve the problem, Mr. Bahuguna said he was in touch with Mr. Rawat and would be meeting his group of MLAs individually and jointly. “Next, I will meet Ms. Gandhi for the final word.”
Mr. Bahuguna along with central observer Ghulam Nabi Azad, general secretary in-charge Choudhary Birendra Singh and Mr. Rawat were expected to finalise the names for the Cabinet.
“I am confident of returning on Monday with all my colleagues and may expand the Cabinet the same day,” he said. As of now, the Chief Minister is the only member in the Cabinet.
He had asked IAS officers to get back to work and provide solutions, not merely reasons why something could not be done. “You have to be agents of optimism, change and entrepreneurship. Walk the extra mile… the laws impeding progress can always be changed,” he told the officers. He advised them not to attempt to play politics.
To a query on the fate of his government amidst deep rooted opposition from within the party, Mr. Bahuguna said he believed in quality tenure. “It does not matter how long I am CM. What matters is how much I can do within the given time.”