Former MLAs happy to interact with Chief Minister at daylong conference

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on Monday held a daylong conference with about 30 former Congress MLAs who had failed to win in the Assembly elections. Some party MLAs have been revolting, seeking development in their constituencies.

The former MLAs were given a patient hearing by Mr. Bahuguna and the State Congress president and Minister Yashpal Arya.

The Chief Minister promised to fulfil development demands and sought their opinion on how the party could be further strengthened in view of the next Lok Sabha polls.

Government sources see the exercise as Mr. Bahuguna’s move to expand his base within the party.

Deciding to ignore Mr. Bahuguna’s invitation to a one-on-one session, the four rebel MLAs — all close to Mr. Harish Rawat — Harish Dhami, Manoj Tiwari, Mayukh Mehar and Hemesh Kharkwal instead aired their woes before State Planning Minister Dinesh Aggarwal.

Mr. Aggarwal is supposed to brief Mr. Bahuguna on the demands of the MLAs soon.

Mr. Dhami, who had last week threatened to resign if his demands for development in the Dharchula constituency were not met within 15 days, has given the government 30 additional days.

It will take time: CM

Mr. Bahuguna said the development promises were to be completed during his five-year tenure and not within a year. He said it would take time to secure clearances from the forest department and find funds.