Cong likely to replace Uttarakhand CM

Cong likely to replace Uttarakhand CM

The Congress is likely to replace Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna soon as questions were raised on his leadership in the immediate aftermath of the flash floods in the hill-state last year.

Congress sources have said senior ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and Ghulam Nabi Azad have been appointed central observers and are expected to travel to Dehradun in a day or two to elicit the opinion of MLAs in the state.

Bahuguna, a member of the Lok Sabha from Tehri Garhwal, was sent to Uttarakhand as chief minister in March 2012 after the Assembly elections gave a wafer-thin majority to the Congress.

Talks of his ouster have gained currency over the past few months but he has emerged to be a great survivor and proved his detractors wrong.

However, the appointment of two observers is a clear signal that the Congress leadership has made up its mind to effect a change in Uttarakhand, particularly ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Many MLAs from Uttarakhand have been camping in Delhi and meeting the central leaders with complaints against Bahuguna.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi met senior party leaders, including Azad, AICC general secretaries Janardan Dwivedi and Ambika Soni, and Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to the Congress chief on Wednesday.

The names of Harak Singh Rawat, Indira Hridayesh and Union Minister Harish Rawat were being talked about as possible successors to Bahuguna.

“We will inform you about the decision,” was the reply of a Congress spokesman to questions of leadership change in Uttarakhand.

Home Ministry sources said that Shinde was scheduled to travel to Dehradun on either Thursday evening or on Friday.

Bahuguna has been under pressure ever since he was appointed. The flash floods that hit Uttarakhand last year and the massive rescue and rehabilitation work  also brought his leadership skills into question.

The Congress has 33 members in the Assembly and enjoys the support of the seven-member Progressive Democratic Front that comprises three independents, three members of the Bahujan Samaj Party and one MLA of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal. The remaining 30 MLAs are of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

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