DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Five days left for nomination and Congress is yet to declare its list for the February 15Vidhan Sabha election, something that is driving the prospective contestants to spend sleepless nights. Meanwhile, patience being at the end of their tether, the tentative Congress candidates have started filing their nomination papers from Saturday. Notable among them are the sitting MLAs Mayukh Mahar and Mantri Prasad Naithani who have filed their nomination papers from Devprayag and Pithoragarh respectively on Saturday.
It is curious that six days after BJP made public its first list, the Congress brass is still sitting on it, say the observers. They ascribe the inordinate delay to the fact of the chief Minister Harish Rawat and the state Congress president Kishore Upadhyay locking horns over the list, particularly regarding the electoral status of the five PDF members. Interestingly, Naithani having filed nomination amounts to a tactical win for Upadhyay who has been stressing on the party contesting all the 70 seats up for grabs.
Sources said that Congress may announce its list for Uttarakhand on Monday. The party insiders say that one of the reasons why the party is sitting on the list for days is the possible factional bickering coming in the open after the list is announced. “It is a part of a well-thought-out strategy of giving not much time for the pressure tactics to succeed, given the limited time left for the completion of the nomination process,” said a state party leader.
Interestingly again, BJP is also delaying the publication of its second list involving six seats in two crucial districts. They would perhaps come up with the list after Congress makes public its list, says a state watcher.
Pressure is building on the Congress brass as the ticket hopefuls keep camping at Uttarkhand Niwas in Delhi, refusing to leave lest they be left behind.
It is further learnt from the Congress sources, things are hanging fire as the factions loyal to CM and PCC president are yet to reach a consensus on at least 10 seats. Things proving sticky, the state in-charge Ambika Soni is supposed to be trying her hardest to stitch a compromise formula to clear decks for the publication of the list. While PCC president Upadhyay has returned to Dehradun CM is still camping in Delhi.
Insiders say that party high command has asked the CM to contest from Kichha constituency in Udham Singh Nagar district. “Reasons are understandable as the party is rudderless there following the defection of the senior leader and the state cabinet minister Yashpal Arya to BJP. To fill the vacuum, Harish Rawat is being pressured to step in to galvanize the party into challenging the resurgent BJP, the district having as many as nine seats. Similarly, PCC president Upadhya might contest from Sahaspur constituency while leaving the decks clear for the PDF member Dinesh Dhanai to step into the contest from Tehri seat, the one state party president is supposed to have his eyes fixed on, as per the state Congress sources.