Harak Singh Rawat returns to Congress fold

Harak Singh Rawat and his daughter in law Anukriti flash victory sign after joining Congress, in New Delhi on January 21, 2022.

Harak Singh Rawat and his daughter in law Anukriti flash victory sign after joining Congress, in New Delhi on January 21, 2022.

Accompanied by his daughter-in-law Anukriti Gusain, expelled BJP leader and former Uttarakhand Minister Harak Singh Rawat on Friday rejoined the Congress in a low-key induction.

The former Uttarakhand Minister and Ms. Gusain joined the party in the presence of former Chief Minister and head of the Congress’ campaign committee, Harish Rawat, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Ganesh Godiyal, Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly Pritam Singh and AICC in-charge Devender Yadav, among others.

But more significantly , Mr. Harish Rawat, who had put up a stiff resistance against Mr. Harak Singh Rawat, welcomed him back into the party by offering a Congress patta (scarf) to the former BJP Minister at the Congress war room.

Mr. Harak Singh Rawat, who represents the Kotdwar seat in the Assembly, was among the 10 MLAs who had rebelled against Mr. Harish Rawat-led State government in 2016 and joined the BJP, reducing the Congress dispensation to a minority.

The expelled BJP leader’s entry into the Congress comes just ahead of the releasing of the first list of candidates by the Congress’ central election committee for the February 14 polls.

While it is not clear if the Congress would field Mr. Harak Singh Rawat as a candidate (there is speculation that he could be fielded from Kedarnath), Ms. Gusain is the front runner for the Landsdowne seat.

“I have no conditions except a desire to see the BJP voted out from Uttarakhand and bring in a Congress government in our State. If I can do that then I think I would have expressed my regret for leaving the party in true terms,” Mr. Harak Singh Rawat told reporters.

Though there was a strong buzz that the expelled BJP leader was headed to the Congress, the Uttarakhand Congress was strongly divided. While Mr. Godiyal said he respected the sentiments expressed by the expelled BJP leader, Mr. Harish Rawat was determined that all those who had defected must apologise to the people of the State.

The party high command, however, seems to have persuaded the former Chief Minister to drop his opposition and ensure a smooth re-entry for Mr. Harak Singh Rawat.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 9:52:15 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttarakhand-assembly/harak-singh-rawat-daughter-in-law-join-congress/article38303482.ece