Congress to support Pritam Singh Panwar in Dhanaulti: Harish Rawat

Dehradun: Despite its own candidate entering the electoral fray in Uttarakhand’s Dhanaulti constituency, Congress has decided to lend support to Independent candidate from the seat Pritam Singh Panwar, a member of the PDF that was supporting the Harish Rawat government from inside.

Making the announcement at a press conference addressed jointly by him and PCC chief Kishore Upadhyay here today, Chief Minister Harish Rawat said, “The AICC has taken a decision to extend support to Pritam Singh Panwar from Dhanaulti seat and we are with the party’s decision.”

However, Rawat did not say anything on whether the party’s official nominee Manmohan Mall will be asked to withdraw.

Mall, who was also sitting at the press conference when it began, left midway, throwing up indications that the party’s decision had not gone down well with him.

Mall filed nominations from Dhanaulti yesterday as Congress’s official candidate, landing the party in a difficult situation, as Panwar — a minister in Harish Rawat’s cabinet — was already in the fray from the seat as an Independent and had also sought the party’s support.

It can deepen the Congress’s problems on the seat as the party is already grappling with rebellion in more than half a dozen seats after an announcement of candidates.

What has flummoxed political observers here is the dichotomy in Congress’s stand on its alliance with PDF.

Questions have also been raised as to why Congress gave the party symbol to Mall and allowed him to enter the fray if it was in favour of supporting Pritam Singh Panwar.