Harak Singh Rawat’s meeting with Uttarakhand BJP chief sets party abuzz 

Express News Service

DRHRADUN: The political landscape in Uttarakhand seems to be in a flux. A day after state cabinet minister Yashpal Arya and his MLA son Sanjiv Arya re-joined the Congress, Harak Singh Rawat, also a senior minister, announced that he would not contest the 2022 assembly polls. 

The announcement came following Rawat’s hour-long closed door meeting with BJP state president Madan Kaushik. Sources, however, said say Rawat wanted ticket for his daughter-in-law Anukriti Gosain and discussed this with Kaushik.

“This is pressure politics by Rawat. If the BJP does not give in to his demand, he can re-join the Congress,” said a BJP insider who is privy to the developments. Many in the party doubt that he will stay true to his words about not contesting. “Situation is developing and we will have to wait and watch,” said another leader.

Rawat was among the nine Congress rebels who had join ed the BJP in May 2016. However, he has been voicing his dissent from time to time.  With the Aryas returning to the grand old party, the BJP is rattled that this might open the floodgates for the other rebels to rush back to the Congress. In fact, one more BJP MLA was scheduled to join the Congress with the Aryas and, but stopped after Anil Baluni, national chief spokesperson of the BJP, reportedly intervened. 

Both BJP and Congress leaders, meanwhile, claimed that people from the other side were in their contact with them. “This is just a trailer; the film is yet to follow. Many BJP MLAs are in contact with us and soon they will join us,” Congress state president Ganesh Godiyal said. Manvir Singh, media-in-charge, BJP, too, claimed that “many from the Congress are talking to us and will join the party in the coming days”.