Trying to wriggle out, Rawat in deeper morass

Dehradun : Trying to wriggle himself out from a catch 22 situation, leader of the opposition in the Uttarakhand vidhan sabha, Harak Singh Rawat finds himself in a deeper morass, following the announcement of the candidates list by the Congress party for the state.

Sensing the little lime that the candidates would have for campaigning, Rawat wanted to shift from his assembly segment in the hills to Doiwala in Dehradun district in the plains. This would have made campaigning easier as one could approach the voters in vehicles and through corner meetings and rallies.

However, his plans misfired as the BJP came out with its list earlier and the party allotted the Doiwala seat to former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. It is another point that Pokhriyal and Rawat are close friends, but it would also make the contest a fight between titans, in which either could win.

With this in mind, and also not wanting to launch a verbal tirade against a friend, Rawat decided to shift to some other constituency and opted for Sahaspur, also in Dehradun district with the Congress high command. However, veteran Congress leader, N D Tiwari is seeking the ticket from the constituency for his personal secretary, A Sharma, because of which Rawat was denied the ticket from there.

Eventually the party allocated the Rudraprayag seat to the senior Congress leader, who is aspiring to be the chief minister should the Congress come to power. However, this happens to be the seat of education minister Matbar Singh Kandari and he will again be contesting on the BJP ticket.

Rawat and Kandari are close relatives. While Kandari is married to the eldest sister Leela, Rawat is married to the third sister, Deepti and the two sisters are their wits end as to how they will go about campaigning and asking for votes against each other.

Rumours are that rawat is still trying to wriggle out of the morass that he finds himself in and is trying to persuade his mentors in the Congress high command in Delhi to allocate the Sahaspur seat to him. But besides the N D Tiwari factor, even the people of Sahaspur are hell bent on not having an outsider imposed upon them and that a local should be given the ticket.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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