The Congress in Uttarakhand is adopting a wait and watch policy in the wake of the internal rift in state BJP in the run up to the Assembly elections scheduled early next year.

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister and the chairman of Congress’ campaign committee, Harish Rawat, told IANS, “The Congress is not in a hurry to take any decision on BJP rebels. However, many of them are in touch with us and a final call will be taken at an appropriate time.”

Though he did not disclose any names, sources said that those who had jumped ship from the Congress to the saffron camp are eyeing a comeback, while some from the BJP too are looking to join the party, though the Congress will only back those who will prove to be beneficial to the party.

Many prominent leaders, including ex-Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, former ministers Harak Singh Rawat, Satpal Maharaj and Yashpal Arya had left the Congress for the saffron party, but some of them are reportedly upset ever since the BJP last month appointed Pushkar Singh Dhami as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

Rawat alleged that the BJP has changed three Chief Ministers in the state in recent times and its leaders are fighting for themselves, and not working for the state.

Stating that there is no dearth of issues in the state as unemployment and inflation are on the rise, Rawat said the government is in a denial mode, but the public is very much aware of the hardships they are facing.

Rejecting BJP’s charge of neglect during the 2013 Kedarnath floods when the Congress was in power in the state and he was the Chief Minister, Rawat said that relief and rehabilitation works were carried out during the Congress tenure.

He also said that the BJP should instead talk about its Covid mismanagement and the subsequent rise in unemployment in the state.

Rawat further said that ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled next year, the Congress will come up with a roadmap and tell the people how it will work for their benefit.

Rawat was recently appointed as the head of the Congress campaign committee in Uttarakhand. He is also likely to be projected as the chief ministerial face in the run-up to next year’s election.

Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi recently appointed Ganesh Godiyal as the party’s Uttarakhand unit chief, replacing Pritam Singh who was named the legislative party leader.

Jeet Ram, Bhuwan Kapri, Tilak Raj Behar and Ranjeet Rawat have been appointed as the party’s working presidents in Uttarakhand.

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