Differences in Congress over Rawat's advice of projecting CM face for assembly polls

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Dehradun, Jan 14 (PTI) Differences in the Uttarakhand Congress has come to the fore over a recent suggestion by former CM Harish Rawat that the party should project a chief ministerial face ahead of the state assembly elections next year.

Rawat had made the suggestion in a tweet addressed to Congress incharge for Uttarakhand Devendra Yadav on Monday.

He had argued that a categorical announcement about the party's chief ministerial candidate ahead of the 2022 polls will stop unnecessary speculation and infighting within the party ranks.

However, Rawat's tweet pitching for an unequivocal announcement by the party about its 'general for the 2022 electoral battle who would also be made chief minister in case of the party's victory' triggered a sharp reaction from state Congress president Pritam Singh and Leader of Opposition in Uttarakhand Assembly Indira Hridayesh, who said it would not be in keeping with the party's tradition.

'There is no tradition in the Congress of declaring a chief ministerial candidate ahead of an election. The election will be fought under collective leadership and if the party gets a majority, a leader will be chosen by consensus,' Pritam Singh said.

However, he added that the party high command alone can take a call on Rawat's suggestion.

Echoing Singh, Indira Hridayesh said as per the Congress tradition, if the party gets a majority, the MLAs sit together and choose a leader with the party high command's approval.

Rawat himself had become chief minister by the same process in 2014, she said.

The talk about 'collective leadership' by these leaders made Rawat post another message on Facebook on Wednesday, in which he spoke of being ignored by the Pradesh Congress Committee in party events.

The AICC general secretary said how he did not get a place in party posters.

Rawat reiterated his stand on the party declaring a CM face in Uttarakhand, saying it will help it electorally.

Hitting back, Hridayesh said Rawat was virtually the party's CM candidate in 2017 as he was at the helm but he himself lost both seats he contested. PTI ALM RDK RDK