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Why is Harish Rawat Upset? The Story Behind His Cryptic 'Warning' to Congress

Harish Rawat's 'grief' has been brewing for some time now and his outburst is only a culmination of it.

Updated
Why is Harish Rawat Upset? The Story Behind His Cryptic 'Warning' to Congress
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Senior Congress leader and the party's most prominent face in poll-bound Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, tweeted out what is being seen as a "warning" or rather an "expression of anguish" to the party high command.

This article will try and give the story behind Rawat's public expression of dissatisfaction.

But first, here's the full translation of his tweet thread:

"Isn't it strange that as one is supposed to swim in the ocean that is the elections, the party organisation which is supposed to provide support, either refuses to help or plays a negative role.

In this ocean, the government has unleashed several crocodiles. The people under whose orders I'm supposed to swim, their representatives have tied my hands and feet.

I think often that 'Harish Rawat, this is enough. You've swam enough. Now it's time to rest. Then silently from one corner of my heart a voice says, 'Neither to be helpless, nor run run away (quote from the Mahabharata)'.

I'm in a dilemma. Perhaps the new year will show me the way. I have faith that Lord Kedarnath will guide me in this situation".

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Rawat's thread sparked several reactions including from former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who tweeted, "You reap what you sow" – a dig at Rawat, who as Congress' in-charge for Punjab played a key role in Captain's removal as CM.

But digs aside, Rawat's 'grief' has been brewing for some time now and his outburst is only a culmination of it.

WHAT'S UPSETTING HARISH RAWAT?

Rawat is mainly upset at not being given the kind of freedom he would like in running the Uttarakhand campaign.

"The party in-charge (Devender Yadav) is running things through a coterie of 2-3 leaders. State leaders are being sidelined. This lies at the root of the problem," says a leader close to Rawat.

The part in Rawat's Twitter thread where he says, "The people under whose orders I'm supposed to swim, their representatives have tied my hands and feet – is said to be aimed at Devender Yadav.

Rawat's supporters say that first he was "unfairly" made the in-charge for Punjab, despite the party high command being aware that Punjab and Uttarakhand go to polls at the same time.

"He did such a difficult job of securing Amarinder Singh's removal, appointed Charanjit Channi and managed Navjot Singh Sidhu to the best of his abilities. He should have been given more freedom in his home state," says another Rawat groupie.

The party leadership's response, however, is that Rawat got what he wanted - he has a prominent position in the party's Uttarakhand campaign and his nominee Ganesh Godiyal was made the state Congress chief.

But Rawat's supporters say that Godiyal isn't having much of a say either as the rest of the team is from the older dispensation that was led by Pritam Singh, Congress Legislature Party leader in the state Assembly who was the previous state unit chief.

The Rawat camp's complaint is that they aren't being given enough of a say in ticket distribution or in key party events.

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HISTORY AND POPULARITY

There's a history to Rawat's dissatisfaction. He has been overlooked not once but twice for the chief minister's chair.

The first time was in 2002, when the Congress opted for ND Tiwari as the CM and not Rawat.

While Tiwari's appointment was still fine given his seniority, the decision in 2012 defied all logic when the party appointed Vijay Bahuguna as the chief minister instead of Rawat.

Bahuguna is a political lightweight and was seen more in Delhi than in Uttarakhand.

Rawat did become chief minister eventually after Bahuguna was removed months after his disastrous handling of the 2013 Uttarakhand flash flods. He later joined the BJP as did ND Tiwari. Rawat stayed loyal to the Congress all through.

He is presently the most popular CM face in the state, across party lines. According to CVoter's election tracker for December, 33.5 percent voters in Uttarakhand want Rawat to be their next CM, ahead of incumbent BJP CM Pushkar Dhami at 26.6 percent. No one else from the Congress is even in double digits.

However, there's a section in the Congress which feels that projecting Rawat as CM and letting him dominate the campaign could have a flipside as it may trigger a pushback from rival factions within the party.

Those close to Rawat say that while he's upset, he's too loyal to the party to rebel therefore they hope that the party leadership would address his concerns.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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