Dehradun, Jan 24 (PTI) Hours before Harish Rawat was declared as the Congress candidate from Ramnagar on Monday, his arch rival within the party Ranjit Rawat said people in the constituency in Uttarakhand saw him as a better bet.
Before the the party announced its second list of 11 candidates on Monday evening, an audio clip went viral in which apparently a local Congress leader is heard telling Harish Rawat that Ranjit Rawat is a stronger claimant for the seat than him.
Reacting to the audio clip, Ranjit Rawat, former Congress MLA and now one of the four working presidents of the state party unit, said it shows that party workers in the area are not with Harish Rawat.
He said he has been working in the area for several years, hence is the strongest contender for the party ticket from the seat.
Harish Rawat is purportedly talking to a local party leader in the audio about contesting from the seat and he is told that party workers are fully in support of Ranjit Rawat and to them, Congress means Ranjit Rawat and no one else.
When Harish Rawat asks him to think about the party, the leader says, “For us the party here means Ranjit Rawat. We have been working with him for the party for the last 10 years.” Once considered “very close” to Harish Rawat, Ranjit Rawat is now counted among his rivals within the party. He is the working president of the state party at present and had staked his claim for the Ramnagar seat.
Ramnagar was represented by Congress veteran and former chief minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari in 2002. Tiwari is the only chief minister of Uttarakhand to complete his full five-year term.
Ranjit Rawat was elected as an MLA from Salt assembly seat in 2002 and 2007 but was defeated by late BJP leader Surendra Singh Jeena in 2012. Jeena died of COVID-19 in 2020.
The Congress, which had released its first list of 53 candidates late on Saturday night, announced it second list of 11 candidates on Monday night fielding Harish Rawat from Ramnagar.
The party is yet to declare its candidates for the six remaining seats in the 70-member state assembly. PTI ALM SMN SMN
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Source: The Print