New Delhi, March 14: Congress today sought to mollify Union minister Harish Rawat, who is in a rebellious mood over the nomination of Vijay Bahuguna as Uttarakhand Chief Minister, but ruled out any change in the decision of the high command on the leadership issue.
“If anybody is unhappy, it is our internal matter. We will sort it out. You are requested not to worry in this regard. There is enough inner democracy in Congress,” party spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters when asked whether he will be elevated to Cabinet rank.
He refused to accept that what Rawat was doing was some sort of anti-party activity. “No anti-party activity” was his refrain when asked whether the party considers the revolt by Rawat as anti-party.
Asked whether Congress fears a split in its state unit with Rawat's revolt or whether the incident has eroded the authority of the party high command, Alvi reminded that the Union minister has given a “very clear statement that he is not against the party leadership”.
A senior leader, who declined to be identified, said that Rawat is under presssure from his supporters not to give up the claim for chief ministership. He also acknowledged that Rawat does have sizeable support.
Alvi also downplayed the absence of Rawat, a Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs, for the second consecutive day from Parliament, saying sometimes MPs do not turn up. “He must be busy with something. He will come to Parliament soon,” he said.
He also chose to put up a brave face, saying all is well even as Bahuguna faced an uphill task of proving his majority with a number of MLAs pitching for Rawat as chief minister.
“There is no revolt or a big problem. I can assure you that everything is normal in the party. Vijay Bahuguna is Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and his government will function normally. We are confident that he will get majority,” Alvi said.
The Congress spokesperson said that Bahuguna will prove his majority within the time frame alloted to him by the Governor.
He also refused to attach much significance to the fact that only a handful of MLAs attended the swearing in of Bahuguna in Dehradun, saying there is no constitutional obligation that all MLAs have to be present when chief minister is sworn in.
Alvi sought to debunk the contentions that Bahuguna was forced as the CM on the legislators, saying the party decided on his name only after consultations with leaders particularly the newly-elected MLAs.
Blaming the media for creating a “hype” over the issue, he said, “This is being hyped by the media. There are minor issues that happen in a party and all these issues can be sorted out mutually. There is nothing to worry.”