Harish Rawat recently responded to the allegations of him selling party tickets in the recently concluded Uttarakhand State Assembly elections. Rawat, a former CM and prominent Congress leader, said that he must be expelled from the party because the allegation is a “serious” one. He even went as far as tweeting, “Congress should end the evil of Harish Rawat in the Holika Dehan.”
This incident is simply one of many the Congress has been experiencing in its political turmoil post- loss in all five states. It has led to many prominent figures leaving the party, including Capt. Amarinder Singh and CM Ibrahim as recently as two days ago.
Rawat spoke to the media at his Dehradun residence. He said, “I have already taken moral responsibility for the defeat and have submitted my resignation as the campaign committee chairman on the same day. State president Ganesh Godiyal is also in Delhi to say that it was our collective responsibility and we could not deliver… Maybe it is in my destiny that in this old age, I am accused of selling tickets.”
Rawat also said how the public perception was such that he was needed neither in Congress nor in public life. He further claimed that the party is like a god to him and that during Holika Dehan, the Dehan of Harish Rawat should take place as well. “At least his political dehan,” he said.
The party’s performance in Uttarakhand
The party could only win 19 out of 70 seats in the state assembly election. Despite most predictions before the polling, this shows the BJP and Congress a similar number of seats. Yet, the BJP won 47 winning an absolute majority. Rawat was initially set to contest from the Ramnagar seat but eventually contested from Lalkuan instead. He, however, lost to the BJP candidate on the same seat with a margin of 17,000 votes. Rawat had also lost in 2017 from the Haridwar Rural and Kichha seats.
It’s interesting to note that the person who levied the accusation of selling party tickets against Rawat is actually ‘friend-turned-foe’ Ranjit Rawat. He told the Indian Express that he made the allegation after Harish Rawat dragged his name in a Facebook post. “This time again, I wanted to contest from Ramnagar, a seat I was preparing to contest for the last six years… His managers take money from people in exchange for tickets,” he said about Harish.
Harish Rawat had also said in a facebook post, hours before leaving for Delhi to attend a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), that he did not know how he would be able to face the Party Chief Sonia Gandhi. He expressed his despair about not being able to meet the party’s expectations. However, he recognised his shortcomings and apologised for not being able to meet expectations.