New Delhi: Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat is reported to have resigned from the post after the Congress high command on Monday named Vijay Bahaguna as the next Uttarakhand chief minister.
Reports said Rawat has sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Rawat was quoted as saying today that it was difficult to work under current circumstances.
Also, there are fears of Uttarakhand Congress breaking up with 16 MLAs supporting Rawat reported to be mulling quitting the national party and floating a new political party. The MLAs are likely to meet the state Governor later today.
Rawat was the front-runner to head the Congress-led coalition government in Uttarakhand after the recent Assembly polls. However, the naming of Bahuguna as brought the factional feud to the fore.
Raising slogans, angry supporters of Rawat, who gathered at his house here Monday night, wanted to know why he was ignored for the top slot and egged him to split the party.
In a bid to placate a sulking Rawat, Bahuguna, his sister and UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi met the Union minister at his residence.
Emerging from the meeting, Rawat had said, "I am a Congressman, thorough and thorough".
Asked what transpired at the meeting with the brother-sister duo, Rawat said, "They had come to console a loser".
Replying to a question as to how many MLAs backed him, Rawat declined to specify the number and merely said, "All of them are Sonia Gandhi`s MLAs. They came to console me and I also consoled them. I`m a loser."
Asked if he would boycott Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony of Bahuguna as Chief Minister, Rawat said, "I have a sore throat and am not keeping well. Let`s see."
Sonia Gandhi, who was authorised by party MLAs to take a decision in the matter, chose Bahuguna after taking the views of party MPs and MLAs.
The choice of Bahuguna, a cousin of outgoing BJP chief minister BC Khanduri, was made by Gandhi after the party high command had grappled with the issue for days amid diverse pulls and pressures created by several claimants to the top post and demand by independent MLAs whose support is crucial to Congress` securing majority and formation of government.
Bahuguna would be sworn in as new chief minister of Uttarkahand at a function in Dehradun this evening. Governor Margaret Alva would administer the oath to 65-year-old Bahuguna.
(With PTI inputs)