Dehra Dun : Congress national vice-president, Rahul Gandhi during his recent visit to Uttarkhand made it amply clear that he is not happy in the manner things were going on in this small mountain state and there was need for not only the partymen, but senior party functionaries and the government machinery to pull up their socks.
Without naming anyone, he expressed resentment at the manner in which chief minister Vijay Bahuguna had propped his son Saket Bahuguna as the Congress candidate for the Tehri Lok Sabha by-election, when the latter had not done anything within the party.
He publicly announced that henceforth no one who had not worked for five years within the party would be given a ticket for contesting elections and no decision would be taken in air conditioned chambers in Delhi.
Expressing concern both the state government and the party organization, he called for more coordination between the government and the organization in Uttarakhand and that the government machinery should give more weightage to the proposals and grievances of the party workers and their constituencies, rather than taking up issues which do not benefit the common man.
He also made it clear that the party leadership in the state was not giving him the real picture of the state of affairs within the Congress in this small mountain state, which was far more hazy than the rosy halo being painted.
This was perhaps why he asked the party top brass including chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, state chief Yahpal Arya and other functionaries to leave the venue when he was having a one-to-one with the Congress workers.
Apparently word had reached Rahul Gandhi that some of the senior party leaders who are ministers in the state were portraying themselves to be bigger than the party itself, because of which they paid no heed to the workers.
This was perhaps why when the number two in the Vijay Bahuguna cabinet, Indira Hridesh introduced herself he shot back at her saying that he had received a lot of complaints against her. The poor minister had a hard time trying to reconcile the situation.
Though the Congress national vice president made no announcements of any change in the leadership of the party or the government in the state, party workers here were of the view that the tone and tenor of Rahul Gandhi indicated that he would bring about some changes before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, if they are not pre-poned.
They felt that while Vijay Bahuguna may be given some leeway to improve the functioning of his government and ensure that some benefits percolate down to the masses to improve the image of the Congress, the state party chief Yashpal Arya may be changed in the near future.
Already the name of Satpal Maharaj, MP member from Garhwal has started doing the rounds, but the rank and file feels that cosmetic changes alone will not be of much help, if the Congress wants to retain all the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand.