"I will work selflessly for Congress party in Uttarakhand," said Member of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly Harak Singh Rawat on Monday, 17 January, post his dismissal from the state Cabinet, as well as expulsion from the Bharatiya Janata Party by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.
"Congress party will form government in Uttarakhand. I will selflessly work for Congress party."Harak Singh Rawat, according to ANI
Rawat was also quoted by ANI as saying that BJP did not talk to him once before "taking such a big decision", and he had gone to Delhi to meet Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, but as soon as he reached, he discovered through social media that the BJP had expelled him.
He also said that he would have resigned from the party four years ago, if he had not left the Congress to join them.
"Union Minister Pralhad Joshi called me to meet in Delhi, due to traffic there was a bit of delay. I wanted to meet him & Home Minister Amit Shah, but as soon as I reached Delhi, I saw on social media that they (BJP) expelled me."Harak Singh Rawat, according to ANI
"I don't have much interest in being a minister, I just wanted to work," Rawat further added.
Reports suggest that Rawat’s removal comes amid infighting in the BJP, ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. Speculations are also rife that Rawat may be slated to join the Congress party.
However, in a statement on Monday, former Uttarakhand CM and Congress leader Harish Rawat dispelled these speculations saying that the leader has 'not joined the party yet'.
Speaking to reporters, the leader stated, "I don't want to make any statement on this. Expelled Uttarakhand BJP Minister Harak Singh has not joined the Congress party yet," ANI quoted.
He added that the Congress will consider 'several angles' before taking a decision on the matter.
"If he (expelled Uttarakhand BJP Minister Harak Singh) will accept his mistake of leaving the Congress party, then we're ready to welcome him," the former CM added.
WHAT DID THE UTTARAKHAND CM SAY?
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister (CM) Pushkar Singh Dhami accused Rawat of putting pressure on the party for tickets for his family members.
According to ANI, the CM said:
"Uttarakhand BJP Minister Harak Singh Rawat was putting pressure on the party (seeking party tickets) for his family members but we have a different policy, only one member of a family will be given a party ticket for elections."
Earlier, in December, Rawat had angrily left a Cabinet meeting in protest against alleged "government inaction" over a suggested medical college in his constituency. It had also been reported that Rawat had threatened to resign.
However, Umesh Sharma Kau, another BJP MLA of the Uttarakhand government, had subsequently said that Rawat's grievance had been addressed and dismissed the rumours of his resignation. Union Home Minister Amit Shah was reportedly involved in the peacemaking.
Rawat is an MLA from the constituency of Kotdwar, and was the Minister for Forest, Environment, Labour and Employment.
The state of Uttarakhand is slated to go to the polls in one phase on 14 February.
(With inputs from ANI.)