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Congress leader Harish Rawat (Photo/ANI)
Congress leader Harish Rawat (Photo/ANI)

Congress winning Uttarakhand, Dhami saved BJP's 'self-respect': Harish Rawat

ANI | Updated: Feb 15, 2022 15:27 IST

Haldwani (Uttarakhand) [India], February 15 (ANI): A day after polling for Assembly elections in Uttarakhand concluded, former chief minister and senior Congress leader Harish Rawat exuded confidence that his party will form the government in the hill state winning 48 seats and took a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party saying Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami saved BJP's self-respect otherwise it would have suffered a massive defeat.
Harish Rawat, who is also Chairman of Uttarkhand Congress' Campaign Committee, claimed there is a good fight in around six constituencies out of 70 seats.
"I can clearly see the Congress is winning the polls with 48 seats. Although there is a good fight in around six assembly seats. I even appealed the people of Uttarakhand to vote for Congress this time so that a government can be formed here for the next five years," he told ANI.
"I would like to congratulate Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami for saving BJP's respect (ijjat) as the party is going to get less than 20 seats in the elections. I want to tell him that people's decision has gone against him this time but he does not need to worry because his elder brother, Harish Rawat's wishes are with him," he added.
Speaking on Dhami, who took oath as chief minister in July last year after resignations of Tirath Singh Rawat and Trivendra Singh Rawat, the Congress veteran said that the BJP leader will prove to become a good competitor in the 2027 Assembly election.
"In 2016, BJP's national leadership had committed a sin in Uttarakhand, so the time has come now to pay for that sin. As the polling ended in Uttarakhand, the voices of rebellion in Uttarakhand BJP started to emerge. Also, a big political disturbance will be witnessed here if PM Modi and Amit Shah's hold on Uttarakhand BJP end," he added.
After the BJP formed the government in Uttarakhand after winning the 2017 Assembly elections, Trivendra Singh Rawat, an MLA from the Doiwala seat, was picked as its Chief Minister. However, after a rebellion by BJP MLAs against Trivendra, he was replaced by Tirath Singh Rawat in March 2021. Tirath Singh Rawat, a Lok Sabha MP, before the completion of six months from the date of taking the oath of the office, was replaced by Pushkar Singh Dhami, a sitting MLA as the CM of the state.
Speaking about state Congress leader Yashpal Arya, who contested polls from the Bajpur Assembly seat, Rawat said, "My best wishes are for Yashpal Arya and I have never personally said anything for Yashpal Arya to become the Chief Minister. I have always extended my support for the entire Dalit society."
The veteran leader said that a tradition started in Punjab was to make Dalit Chief Minister and he would like to see a day in his life when there is a "Dalit Chief Minister" in Uttarakhand.
He said that the leaders will accept Congress' high command decision about the chief minister's position if the party voted to power.
"Whatever will be the decision of the party high command for Uttarakhand, we will accept it. If Congress wins in Uttarakhand, the credit for the victory goes to Rahul Gandhi. I do not want to raise any question on Rahul Gandhi's decision," Rawat added.
Harish Rawat contested Uttarakhand polls from the Lalkuan constituency and Dhami contested for the third time from the Khatima Assembly seat against the Congress nominee Bhuwan Chandra Kapri.
Both the Congress and the BJP have battled political instability in the state in the last two decades after it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000 during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure.
The BJP's task is twin-fold-- beat the anti-incumbency and also the electoral trend of the incumbent government voted out in the state. Uttarakhand, incidentally, has seen 11 Chief Ministers in the last two decades.
Uttarakhand recorded 65.1 per cent of voter turnout when the polling in 70 Assembly constituencies concluded at 6 pm on Monday. The counting of votes will take place on March 10. (ANI)