New Delhi/Dehradun: Congress MP Vijay Bahuguna on Tuesday took oath as Uttrakhand Chief Minister even as senior party leader and Union Minister Harish Rawat refused to give up his claim for the state’s chief ministership.
The fast-paced development in the hill state has complicated things for the Congress party, trying hard to defuse the leadership crisis and avoid a possible split.
Bahuguna was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Margret Alva shortly after the Congress high command ruled out any re-think over the issue and declared that the swearing-in ceremony will take place as scheduled.
However, reacting strongly to Congress high command’s decision, many party MPs openly came in support of Rawat.
As many as 17 Congress MLAs and some MPs including Pradip Tamta gathered at Rawat’s Dehrdun residence to discuss the situation.
Emerging out of the meeting, Tamta told reporters, “We are with Harish Rawat. He is our leader. Congress party has done great injustice to him. Vijay Bahuguna is not acceptable to us as the state’s Chief Minister at any cost.”
Tamta also claimed that a majority of Congress MLAs are with Rawat.
When quizzed about Rawat’s rumoured meeting with the BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, he said that no such meeting took place.
Although Rawat avoided speaking to reporters himself, his supporters and top party leaders from the state kept making statements on his behalf.
After Bahuguna’s swearing-in, six more ministers may be inducted after consultations with the party high command in three or four days.
A sulking Rawat is said to have sent in his resignation as Minister of State for Agriculture and Parliamentary Affairs as he felt that it will be difficult for him to continue in the government when for the second time, his claim has been overruled.