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U'khand truce: Cabinet rank for Rawat, Harak to be Dy CM?

Last updated on: March 14, 2012 22:11 IST

U'khand truce: Cabinet rank for Rawat, Harak to be Dy CM?

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The political crisis for the Congress in Uttarakhand appears to have blown over on Wednesday with Union minister and rebel leader Harish Rawat falling in line amid speculation that a compromise deal has been worked out by the party leadership.

After raising the banner of revolt soon after Vijay Bahuguna was named the new chief minister of the state, Rawat claiming the support of 17 of 32 Congress MLAs in the 70-member Assembly, toned down saying he will "not be a cause of crisis".

While there was no official word from the party, sources close to the Rawat camp said that a compromise formula has been worked out under which he could be elevated as a cabinet minister and his close confidante Harak Singh Rawat may be made deputy chief minister.

Some key portfolios can also be given to MLAs supporting Rawat, the sources said.

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Image: Harish Rawat


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After hectic confabulations between the rebel faction and senior Congress leaders, Rawat appeared conciliatory.

"I will not become the cause for any crisis either in Dehradun or in Delhi. My supporters wanted me to be the chief minister but it is not necessary that all wishes are always fulfilled," Rawat told the media outside his residence on Wednesday evening.

The Union minister's statement comes as a major reprieve for Bahuguna, 65, who found only a handful of MLAs attending his swearing in on Tuesday.

Seventeen legislators had gathered at Rawat's residence on Monday night protesting Bahuguna as the chief minister immediately after his name was announced outside Congress President Sonia Gandhi's residence at 10 Janpath by senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.


Image: Harak Singh Rawat


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The controversy was assuming caste connotations owing to the traditional Thakur-Brahmin rivalry in the party state unit with Rawat's supporters questioning the move to hand over the baton to Bahuguna, a Brahmin in the state, where party veteran N D Tiwari was earlier the chief minister.

A sulking Rawat, who is the minister for state for parliamentary affairs, had chosen to stay away from Parliament in the last two days even as the crucial budget session is on.

During the day, Rawat held meetings with the MLAs supporting him and was closetted with party MP from Almora Pradip Tamta, who held that "injustice" was done to the minister for the second time after 2002 by denying him chief ministership.

The Congress, however, downplayed both Rawat's absence in Parliament as well the rebellion, ruling out the possibility of any split and expressing confidence that Bahuguna will prove his majority within the timeframe allotted by Governor Margaret Alva.


Image: Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna


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