The Congress high command has finally given a go head to elicit views of its MLAs in Uttarakhand in order to decide on replacing chief minister Vijay Bahuguna. They party is rushing two Union ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sushil Kumar Shinde to Dehradun on Thursday to record views of the party MLAs about the performance of chief minister and their choice for his successor.
Though, party sources say, any change in the state leadership was linked to the report of these observers, Union water resources minister Harish Rawat is seen leading the race to head the Congress government in the Himalayan state ahead of Lok Sabha polls. Other two contenders are speaker Govind Singh and minister Pritam Singh. This will also entail change in the state Congress leadership.
Rawat, despite leading the party to victory, lost to Bahuguna in the race for CM in 2012. He has been in pursuit of the post but the party high command had not been enthusiastic as they felt it would lead to factionalism within the party and will also anger upper caste voters, who feel alienated in the party. Another name in the race is woman finance minister Indira Hridayesh. AICC general secretary in charge of Uttarakhand Ambika Soni said the MLAs shall decide the chief minister, as “it is with their support that people become chief ministers and CLP leaders.”
Bahuguna, son of late Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, found himself on a shaky wicket from day one despite all support from the party high command. The final nail came with his mishandling of the Kedarnath tragedy, with relief and rescue operations yet to reach some of the badly hit.