Swords are drawn within the Congress in Uttarakhand. Harish Rawat wants to see himself as a CM candidate but there is a strong mobilization against him. Pritam Singh is considered the main face of the anti-Harish Rawat camp within the Congress. Pritam Singh is also the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. It is said that due to factionalism, the party high command is not in a position to declare the chief minister’s face in the state. NBT’s National Political Editor Nadeem spoke to Pritam Singh about the electoral scenario in the state, his relationship with Harish Rawat and the impact of factionalism on the party’s election results. Highlights of the conversation:
We have no such tradition here. We fight elections under collective leadership. After getting the majority, there is a democratic process to choose the CM, through the legislature party, follow it. The same will happen this time as well. If the Congress is not declaring the chief minister’s face, then it is not unexpected.
Is this the reason or is the fact that Harish Rawat should not be allowed to become the Chief Minister?
It is not in my power to decide who will become the Chief Minister and who will not. I am a small party worker. Whatever responsibility the party gives me, I follow it. I told the established tradition of the party, especially with respect to Uttarakhand, that elections are not contested by declaring someone as the Chief Minister in advance.
Some time back we had read a statement of Harish Rawat, in which he had said that if Congress goes to the election field by declaring the face of CM, it will benefit, then the election will not shift to Narendra Modi’s face?
Firstly, I have no knowledge of that statement. I have no knowledge of when it was given, in what context. I don’t even have the right to react to anyone else’s statement. The second thing is that it is not important who wants what. The important thing is what does the high command want? If the decision of the high command is not final, then no decision can be taken, because everyone can have different views. I believe that whether the election should be contested by declaring a face or fighting without a face, it will not make any difference. We have to fight elections on the policies of Congress and against the misrule of BJP.
By the way, how is your relationship with Harish Rawat?
He is our senior, he is our leader in the party.
Where does it go that there is a relationship of 36 between you and them?
It’s not like this. Well, on a personal level, anyone can like or dislike someone. Everyone has their own choice. No one can force anyone to do this. But when you talk at the party level, there is no choice for you. There everyone has to be committed to the policies and leadership of the party.
After Yashpal Arya’s resignation from BJP and joining Congress, it is said about many more leaders that they want to come to Congress, but Harish Rawat has banned their entry?
In every political party there is a door that never closes. People go out of that door, they come. If someone is wanting to come to Congress and Congress high command is trying to take him, then no one can stop him from coming.
When is Harak Singh Rawat coming to Congress?
I have no idea about it.
Is there anything going on about Trivendra Singh Rawat?
I don’t know about that either.
The kind of factionalism being seen in the Congress at the time of the elections, will the party not be overwhelmed?
Where is the factionalism? Not in BJP? In a democracy all individual opinions may differ but elections are fought on the policies of the parties. I can say this with the claim that no matter how much propaganda the BJP’s propaganda system may do, it is sure to be ousted from power.
By the way, what is the electoral scenario of Uttarakhand for you?
The people of Uttarakhand are eagerly waiting for the elections because now they want freedom from the BJP power. Such irresponsible and unsuccessful government has not been seen in Uttarakhand. The people of Uttarakhand want to remove the government which has failed on every front.
With Pushkar Singh Dhami becoming the CM, the anti-incumbency factor against the BJP has ended, how much power is there in the claim?
The people of Uttarakhand don’t care who is the Chief Minister. He only knows that there is a BJP government. The same BJP which came to power in 2017 elections on the strength of deceit and lies. BJP cannot end the displeasure of the common man by changing the face of the Chief Minister before the elections.