In surprise move, Congress shifts out Harish Rawat from Ramnagar to Lalkuan
Uttarakhand election: The Congress, which announced its third list of candidates for the February 14 election, has named Harish Rawat’s daughter Anupama from Uttarkhand’s Haridwar Rural assembly seat
DEHRADUN: Former chief minister Harish Rawat will contest next month’s assembly election from Lalkuan constituency in Nanital district instead of Ramnagar, the Congress announced late on Wednesday evening in its third list of candidates.
The Congress list of candidates on 10 seats includes four seats such as Lalkuan where the party has replaced its candidates.
Rawat replaces Sandhya Dalakoti who was earlier named the candidate from the Lalkuan in the second list, and will be pitted against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Mohan Singh Bisht, who was named by the BJP just a few hours earlier. The BJP axed its sitting MLA, Naveen Chandra Dumka.
Harish Rawat’s daughter, Anupama Rawat, has also been fielded from Haridwar Rural segment.
Om Gopal Rawat from Narendranagar, Gaurav Chaudhary from Doiwala in place of Mohit Uniyal, Ravi Bahadur from Jwalapur (SC seat) instead of Barkha Rani, Yashpal Rana from Roorkee, Kesar Singh Negi from Chaubattakhal, Ranjit Rawat from Salt constituency in Almora district, Mahesh Sharma from Kaladhungi in place of Mahender Pal Singh who has been named as candidate from Ramnagar.
There was no explanation on the reason behind the last-minute changes in the list of candidates issued by the office of Congress national general secretary Mukul Wasnik at 11.30pm. The last date for filing nominations for the Uttarakhand elections is 28 January (Friday).
It is not clear if the decision to shift out Harish Rawat from Ramnagar is linked to a possible rebellion by Ranjit Rawat, who was backed by leader of opposition in the assembly, Pritam Singh.
Congress leaders had earlier spoken of how Rawat was adamant on contesting from Ramnagar rather than make space for his one-time close aide Ranjit Rawat who had nurtured the constituency over the past few years.
On Tuesday, Rawat stressed that the decision to fight from Ramnagar was his because “Ramnagar has made immense contribution in his political career”.
“The people of Ramnagar have given me a lot to which I would always be indebted to them. That is the reason; I decided to contest from there so as to serve them. I am hopeful that they will shower their blessings and love on me in the upcoming elections,” Rawat said on Tuesday.
On a possible rebellion by Ranjit Rawat, Harish Rawat was dismissive. “He is like my younger brother and important party leader who always abide by the organisation’s policy. I can only give him my best wishes.”
The Congress did accommodate Ranjit Rawat, not in Ramnagar but the Salt assembly segment in Almora district, possibly to signal that there were no winners in this face-off.
To be sure, this is the fourth time that Rawat is contesting from a new seat. He first became a state legislator in 2014 after winning the bye-election from Dharchula constituency of Pithoragarh district. He fought the 2017 assembly elections from two seats - Haridwar (rural) and Kiccha in US Nagar district - and lost both seats.