“Just Have Fun”: Harish Rawat Keeps Up Suspense As Thread Stirs Congress


Harish Rawat is seen as the Congress’s face for the Uttarakhand election early next year. (File)

New Delhi:

Uttarakhand Congress leader Harish Rawat flashed more troubling signals for his party today as he offered no explanation for tweets aimed at the Gandhis and instead told reporters that he would “speak when the time comes.”

Harish Rawat, seen as the Congress’s face for the Uttarakhand election early next year, said in his tweets yesterday that he felt his hands are tied, that he wants to rest, and that he hoped for “guidance from Lord Kedarnath” about the what path to take.

He was bombarded by reporters’ questions this morning.

“When the time comes, I will share everything with you. Who else will I speak to, if I don’t speak to you? I will call you. For now, just have fun,” said the former Uttarakhand Chief Minister in comments that can only heighten the Congress’s worries.

Mr Rawat’s rant on Twitter has been seized by leaders of the “G-23”, the group of 23 Congress “dissidents” who took the unprecedented step last year of writing to party president Sonia Gandhi asking for sweeping reforms, including a “visible, full-time leadership” and collective decision-making.

Manish Tewari, a prominent G-23 member, took an unsubtle swipe at his party in capital letters.

“First Assam, then Punjab, now Uttarakhand. Bhog poora hi paun gaye kasar na rahe jawe koi (loosely translated as – decimate the party, spare no efforts),” wrote the Congress leader.

Mr Rawat, a trusted Gandhi family aide and a Congress trouble-shooter, stunned his bosses with the tweets that named no one but left no doubt. For the party, it means a crisis in a state where it is confident of regaining power.

Just weeks ago, Mr Rawat, a Congress Working Committee member, had been firefighting in Punjab, with a feud between Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu threatening to split the party ahead of polls.

Uttarakhand and Punjab are among the five states set to vote for new governments early next year.

“Isn’t it strange? We have to swim in this sea of elections, but instead of supporting me, the organisation has either turned its back on me or is playing a negative role,” Mr Rawat tweeted.

“The powers-that-be have let loose many crocodiles (predators) in the sea that we have to navigate. Those whom I am supposed to follow, their people have tied my hands and feet. I have been thinking… Harish Rawat, it’s gone too far, you have done enough, it is time to rest. Then there is a voice in the head that quietly says I am neither weak nor will run from challenges. I am in turmoil. Hope the New Year shows me the way. I am confident that Lord Kedarnath (Shiva), will show me the way,” the Congress leader said.

The BJP’s Tirath Singh Rawat said Mr Rawat appeared to be “in pain” and should rest.

“When Harish Rawat says something, then there is definitely something wrong. It is an internal Congress matter. There is a rift in the party,” Tirath Rawat, a former Chief Minister, told reporters.

Asked if the BJP would gain from this rift, he said: “It will affect the Congress in elections …of course it will benefit the BJP. He is a big leader and has a lot of experience. I think the way he is talking, he should take rest now.”

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