Dehradun: Dissent seems to be brewing in Uttarakhand Congress as former state chief minister and AICC general secretary, Harish Rawat was named as the party’s candidate from Nainital parliamentary constituency on Saturday evening. The contest in Nainital has got interesting as Rawat will take-on state BJP chief Ajay Bhatt.
Rawat was named as the Nainital Congress candidate despite strong opposition in the party ranks including former MP Mahendra Pal and leader of opposition in assembly Indira Hridayesh.
“I am Rana Sanga (16th century Rajput king known to had fought invaders) of Congress; I was first denied a Rajya Sabha ticket. Now, I have been denied a Lok Sabha ticket as well. How long am I going to suffer this?” said a disgruntled Pal.
Seizing the opportunity, state chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was quick to jibe, “Harda (nickname of Harish Rawat) after polls will be known as Haarda (the one who have lost)”.
In political circles, Harish Rawat and Ajay Bhatt are known to be bête noirs of one another. Interestingly both of them hail from Ranikhet, a town nestled in neighbouring Almora parliamentary constituency. Both lost assembly elections held in 2017.
Both the leaders are also considered 'outsiders' to Nainital. A section in BJP is reportedly ‘unhappy’ over the fact that sitting MP and septuagenarian former CM Bhagat Singh Koshyrai has not been re-nominated.
The picture is not merrier for Rawat as Hridyesh doesn’t share a cordial relation with him. According to sources, she opposed Rawat’s name till the last moment.
Apart from Hridyesh, a sulking Pal has also emerged as a major headache for Congress. BJP spin doctors believe Rawat could have a touch time owing to the ‘cold response’ from his party’s miffed leaders though he appealed for support via twitter and facebook.
In his message, Rawat wrote, “I am little skeptical whether will I be able to pass the exam. God please help me”. Both Rawat and Bhatt will file nomination papers on Monday.