As a true Congressman, I will continue to work for the nation: Harish Rawat

The standoff within the ruling Congress in Uttarakhand on the Chief Ministership issue ended on Wednesday, with Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Agriculture Harish Rawat announcing that his group of MLAs would support Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna.

The climb down came after the party high command asked him to toe the party line, sources told The-Hindu on condition of anonymity.

“All desires sometimes do not materialise. But that does not mean the end of things. As a true Congressman, I will continue to work for the nation under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ji', Mr. Rawat told TheHindu over telephone.

The open revolt by about 17 of the 32 newly elected party MLAs, including State Congress president Yashpal Arya, Leader of the Opposition in the last Assembly Harak Singh Rawat, senior Minister Indira Hirdeyesh and Mr. Harish Rawat, over the leadership issue had brought the State unit to the brink of a vertical split. The development also resulted in a Brahmin–Thakur divide that could affect the party's prospects in the 2014 general elections.

Meanwhile, the three independent MLAs (Harish Chandra Durgapal, Dinesh Dhanai and Mantri Prasad Naithani, all former Congressmen) and the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) legislator Pritam Singh Panwar, who support the Congress government, have formed the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF). “We will monitor the activities of the government and take suitable action when required,” said Mr. Panwar.

Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna was given a warm welcome at the State Congress headquarters where he met his supporters. Loyalists of Mr. Harish Rawat and those who opposed his nomination as Chief Minister were conspicuously absent at the function.

He assured a delegation led by Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Sarbat Karim that a special department for minorities affairs would be set up soon.

Harish Rawat has declared that his group of MLAs will support Bahuguna