Uttarakhand Congress Faces ‘Internal’ Hurdles in Overhaul

DEHRADUN | Updated: 23 August, 2022 9:35 am IST
Factionalism and infighting in the Uttarakhand Congress are making things difficult for the new president, Karan Mahra

Despite a change in the leadership, following their defeat in the state assembly polls in March this year, Congress seems to have failed to learn the lessons.

With the aim of bringing a fresh impetus, following their loss, Congress appointed Karan Mahra as the state president. But sources in the party said factionalism and infighting, the albatross around the party’s neck, are making things difficult for the new president as he looks to prepare for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

“Mahra has been instructed by the party leadership to form the state working committee till the second fortnight of September month,” a party leader told The New Indian on the condition of anonymity.

“The new president is facing problems as he wants to cut down the numbers from 300+ to just 100-150. Balancing is of utmost importance as contenders for the committee are not ready to give up their place in the important body of the state party unit,” the leader said.

The loss in March was the party’s second successive defeat in state elections. Earlier, in the 2017 assembly elections, the Congress lost power to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Though the Congress managed to improve its tally from 11 to 19 in the 70-member assembly, the result was important for the BJP as this was the first time that any party had won consecutive elections in the state.

Following their defeat, Congress rang in changes in the party – starting with the removal of the then-party president, Ganesh Godiyal. Changes were also made in the position of Leader of Opposition, with Yashpal Arya taking over the charge from Pritam Singh.

Jai Singh Rawat, a political analyst based in Dehradun, said, “With 2024 Lok Sabha polls less than two years away, the Congress needs to introspect. Rampant factionalism and infighting have rendered the party incapable of a winning streak. However, it is still the main opposition party. It needs to do more in Uttarakhand as well as elsewhere.”

Former CM Harish Rawat, following his defeat in the assembly elections, hinted at internal sabotage as he claimed that he wanted to contest from Ramnagar but had to fight from the Lalkuan seat.

Replying to the queries related to the formation of the committee in the state, Mahra said, “We are all working as one unit with an eye to win as many seats as possible in the Lok Sabha polls of 2024.”

“We will keep raising the issues that matter to people, including unemployment, inflation, corruption and misconduct on the part of the government. We are shouldering the responsibility of the opposition,” he added.

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