Harish Rawat for introduction of Deputy Chief Minister, Deputy Speaker posts

Even as Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna continued to camp in New Delhi with an olive branch, dissident leader Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat told media persons in the national Capital over the weekend that he had no ill-will against Mr. Bahuguna and wished him all luck.

“I am not a rebel. This is a family matter and a large number of workers, including MLAs, coming to me are aggrieved and asking questions. These questions will have to be addressed by those in power in the State as the coterie that kept me out of the top job in 2002 was active again,” Mr. Rawat said. This coterie, he added, stood against the interests of the common man.

Mr. Rawat is reported to have sought introduction of the posts of Deputy Chief Minister and Deputy Speaker.

Former Leader of Opposition Harak Singh Rawat, who reached Dehra Dun in the morning, could be seen in a bad mood. “I will take the oath whenever I feel like. One thing is clear -- I will not join the State Cabinet,” he said, adding that he wanted to work for his constituents and also give a chance to newcomers by staying away from the Cabinet.

Mr. Harak Singh had won the Rudraprayag seat that was new to him and the rival was his co-brother and Bharatiya Janata Party strongman Matwar Singh Kandari. He was one of the claimants to the top job.

A positive development was Congress strong woman Indira Hirdeyesh saying everything will be sorted out and the Bahuguna Government will run a full five-year term. “The Congress is known for stability and development and that will be achieved despite some healthy differences in the family”, she told The Hindu over phone.

Mr. Bahuguna, who has been holding talks with Mr. Harish Rawat and others, felt that all differences would be sorted out and the Cabinet would be sworn in this week. Fourteen Congress MLAs are yet to take oath and Mr. Bahuguna is the lone member of the Cabinet. He is being helped by Central observer Ghulam Nabi Azad and general secretary in charge Chaudhary Birendra Singh in solving the jigsaw puzzle.

The Chief Minister is expected to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi again before returning to Dehra Dun.

Meanwhile, Pro Tem Speaker Shailender Mohan Singhal clarified that he had not threatened anyone to take the oath. “All I had said was that the whip issued by any party would be applicable to all elected MLAs whether they take the oath or not,” he added.

PTI adds from New Delhi: The Congress high command on Saturday assured Mr. Harish Rawat of giving him his due but ruled out changing Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna.

The name of the Union Minister's wife Renuka is being considered among a few others for the Rajya Sabha nomination for the lone vacant seat from the hill State, Congress general secretary Chaudhary Birender Singh told reporters.

He said the names of Ms. Hridayesh, former MP Mahendra Pal and retiring member Satyavrat Chaturvedi are also being considered for the seat.

Replying to questions, Mr. Singh made it clear that the high command was not thinking of having any Deputy Chief Minister in the State at present.

“The high command wants to give Mr. Rawat his due”, but at the same time said that Mr. Bahuguna was chosen CM after due consideration.

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