Dehradun: With the ticket for the vacant Rajya Sabha seat in Uttarakhand going to Manorama Sharma Dobariyal, a Harish Rawat loyalist, the Rawat faction has reasserted its supremacy over the affairs of the party in the hill state, political observers here said.
The choice of former Dehradun mayor as the party nominee from the seat against stiff competition from a heavyweight like former CM Vijay Bahuguna goes to the credit of Rawat camp in the PCC which was mounting pressure on the party high command for fielding one of its members from the seat.
By ensuring that the ticket for the Upper House seat goes to someone from his camp, Rawat has once again proved that he is in the driver's seat not only in the government but also in the affairs of the state unit of the party, political observers here said.
People in Uttarakhand had their first taste of Rawat's growing control over the party affairs in the state when Kishore Upadhyay, his close aide, was made the PCC chief replacing Yashpal Arya in June this year.
Meanwhile, it is a major setback for the faction headed by Bahuguna who had lobbied hard for the seat.
The former chief minister who had to step down to make way for Harish Rawat was keen for an Upper House berth as a compensation for his sacrifice and made several trips to Delhi over the past few weeks to stake his claim before the high command.
Even Rawat's ministerial colleagues SS Negi and Harak Singh Rawat said to be loyal to Bahuguna had described him as an experienced leader who deserved to be fielded from the seat.
However, Manorama Sharma's selection as the party candidate finally has come as a surprise to many within the party and outside it for despite being a senior leader, she had been marginalised in the party in recent years.
Her name also did not figure among the names of party leaders doing the rounds as probables for the seat.
Party insiders said though keeping a low profile in the PCC, Manorama always staked her claim for a Vidhan Sabha or Lok Sabha seat whenever the opportunity arose.
On being denied a ticket she also undertook trips to Delhi to convey her sense of disappointment but always resisted taking a confrontationist course.
This unflinching loyalty coupled with her being a woman which is in keeping with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's emphasis on giving more representation to the fair sex in legislatures seems to have worked in her favour, party leaders maintained.