Rawat strikes a conciliatory note

DEHRADUN,KAVITA UPADHYAY:After a month and a half’s tussle with the Centre, with 10 fewer MLAs and yet getting majority support in the Assembly on Tuesday, Harish Rawat has emerged a strong Congress leader and an even stronger opponent for the BJP in Uttarakhand.

Congress workers in in Allahabad elebrate the results of the Uttarakhand Assembly floor test on Wednesday.

Projecting the recent tussle as a loss for the people of the State, Mr. Rawat said, “In this battle between political parties, the Congress didn’t win and the BJP didn’t lose. It was the people of Uttarakhand who lost.”

While Mr. Rawat was at loggerheads with the Centre after it tried to topple his government and brought the State under President’s Rule, on Wednesday he sought the support of the Union government, and asked the Uttarakhand BJP to cooperate for the State’s development.

On March 27, an angry Rawat had held Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for “murdering democracy” by putting the State under President’s rule.

New chapter, says CM
However, he struck a conciliatory note after getting the vote of confidence. He said, “All’s well that ends well … There have been some rough patches in Uttarakhand politics, but we now need to look ahead … We [the Congress and the BJP] should forget the past experiences and begin a new chapter since we have to work together for the State’s development.”

The crisis began on March 18, when nine Congress MLAs joined the BJP in asking for a division of votes on the Appropriation Bill. The nine “rebels” were disqualified on March 27 by Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal. The same day Uttarakhand was put under President’s rule.

However, on Wednesday, an elated yet composed Rawat appealed to the BJP at the Centre and in Uttarakhand for cooperation. “I thank the Central government and the Attorney General [Mukul Rohatgi] for deciding to revoke President’s Rule from Uttarakhand.”

“I will soon meet the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to tell them that Uttarakhand needs the Centre’s support,” he said.

On whether he would get the Assembly dissolved and go in for fresh elections, Mr. Rawat said that he would consult his “colleagues” before taking a decision.