Cong denies rumours about ousting U'khand CM Bahuguna

Last Updated 20 December 2013, 09:13 IST

Congress today scotched rumours about a change of guard in Uttarakhand, terming it is no more than "media speculation".

"There is no truth in this. All the talk about a change of leadership in the state is just media speculation. None of the party top brass including Rahul Gandhi, AICC incharge of Uttarakhand Ambika Soni or party spokesman Janardhan Dwiwedi has even remotely suggested that the chief minister could be changed in the state.

"Then what is the justification for such a speculation?" Pradesh Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana told PTI.

Claiming that Bahuguna is doing well as Chief Minister, he said why would the party choose to destabilise things in the state by replacing him ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Moreover, replacing Bahuguna at this juncture would mean vindicating the BJP's stand as its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at his recent rally here primarily targeted the chief minister for the manner in which he had handled the situation in the wake floods in the state.

Bahuguna's removal at this stage would also send across the message that Congress is in concurrence with the main opposition party so far as the chief minister's performance is concerned which is something the party would never like to do, Dhasmana said.

Bahuguna himself also sought to put a lid on speculation in the media about his being on the way out yesterday, saying "all is well" with him and that he heads a "stable government" in the state.

Political circles here have of late been abuzz with speculation about Vijay Bahuguna being on his way out.

The basis for this speculation has been the possibility of Congress going for a major rejig in states ahead of Lok Sabha polls after the party's rout in the recently held assembly elections in four states.

It is being said that Bahuguna could be replaced anytime as the party high command is not happy with his alleged "slipshod" handling of the June calamity.

Rubbishing the conjecture, Dhasmana said, "who says the chief minister's handling of the crisis was slipshod? Considering the magnitude of the tragedy he has done a really commendable job and there are no two opinions about that in the party."

However, reports appearing in a section of the press over the past few days suggest that there is a strong possibility of Bahuguna's ouster.

Names doing the rounds as strong contenders for the post of Chief Minister in case Bahuguna is removed are Union Minister Harish Rawat, senior-most minister in Bahuguna's cabinet Indira Hridayesh, state Agriculture Minister Harak Singh Rawat and outgoing PCC chief Yashpal Arya.

(Published 20 December 2013, 09:13 IST)

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