Congress party’s long-time habit of backstabbing its ally at the expense of appeasement politics is all set to get repeated in the upcoming Uttarakhand elections. This time it’s their crisis man Harish Rawat who will pay for his loyalty to the party rather than the Gandhi family.
Harish Rawat ditched by Congress
According to the reports, Congress is looking to launch a Dalit for the face of the chief minister in the upcoming 2022 legislative elections in Uttarakhand. Quoting their sources, News18 reported that the Gandhi family wants to replicate Punjab’s Dalit CM card in Uttarakhand as well.
The speculation arose when 9 of the erstwhile BJP leaders made an election-influenced comeback to the congress party. It has been buttressed by the fact that Yashpal Arya, the Transport Minister in the BJP’s Pushkar Singh Dhami government, and his son Sanjiv Aryahave also quit the BJP and joined the Congress. The Arya family was the Dalit face of the BJP cabinet.
Reports further mentioned that the father-son duo had more than three rounds of discussions with the Gandhi family, and they were keen to have the duo on board.
Rawat and his supporters in panic mode
As soon as the news about the Dalit CM card surfaced, Harish Rawat rushed to the Congress headquarter in a desperate attempt of damage control. Earlier, Harish Rawat had pushed for a public apology from the 9 MLAs who wanted to return to the Congress in Uttarakhand. However, looking at the in-ground scenarios, it seems that his appeal was unheard by the party.
Harish Rawat and his Tumultuous relationship with Congress
The last few months have seen turmoil between Harish Rawat and the Congress party. In spite of him being fully dedicated to the party’s causes in his home state, Rawat was made crisis-in-charge in Punjab. However, he requested the party to relieve him from Punjab in August 2021. But his request went unheard and he had to watch, Captain Amarinder Singh resign from the CM post. Against Rawat’s wishes, Charanjit Singh Channi was promoted as chief minister. After numerous humiliations, Harish Rawat was finally relieved to fulfill his Uttarakhand duties on October 22.
Uttarakhand-The swing state
Uttarakhand being a swing state is the last major hope for the Congress party to set the tone for the 2024 general elections. That is why the Congress party is deploying its tried and tested approach of Dalit appeasement in the state. However, this has the potential to backfire as Harish Rawat’s supporter group Thakurs comprises 25 per cent of the state while Dalits comprise only 23 per cent.
Moreover, Rawat’s presence as a strong party worker connected to the local party cadre is a big factor in influencing the elections. If Congress intra-party fights continue, there is no stopping BJP from coming back. This will be a big setback for the national ambitions of the party, as their chances in Punjab are also getting grimmer day by day.