Uttarakhand Congress leader Harish Rawat, who had given his party a scare with tweets that suggested he wanted out just days before state polls, met with Rahul Gandhi today and declared later that his hands are “no longer tied”.
“I am completely satisfied. The high command has told me that the Uttarakhand election will be contested under my leadership. We all must be united,” Harish Rawat, 73, told reporters.
“My hands are no longer tied. We are all Congress soldiers,” he said, indicating that his near-revolt is a closed chapter, for now.
While assuring him top billing in the Congress campaign, the party stopped short of naming him its chief ministerial face, saying that MLAs would take that decision after the Uttarakhand election early next year.
“Whether I become Chief Minister or not will be decided by the legislature party after the election. The only message is that we have to win the election,” Mr Rawat said.
Mr Rawat stunned the Congress on Wednesday with a Twitter thread in which he spoke about feeling abandoned by his party bosses and about seeking divine guidance on the road ahead.
He didn’t name anyone but left little doubt that his rant was aimed at the Gandhis.
“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…It has gone too far, you have done enough, it is time to rest…I am in turmoil. Hope the New Year shows me the way. I am confident that Lord Kedarnath (Shiva), will show me the way.”
Mr Rawat kept everyone guessing about his next moves.
Yesterday, instead of clarifying the tweets, he told reporters that he would call them soon and that they would be the first to know if there was anything.
Hours later, he kept his replies cryptic in another interaction.
“Kadam kadam badhae jaa, Congress ke geet gae jaa. Zingadi hai Uttarakhand ke vaaste Uttarakhand par lutae jaa (Keep marching forward, sing praises of the Congress, this life is for Uttarakhand, devote it to Uttarakhand),” he said, borrowing lines from an old Hindi song.
After his meeting with Rahul Gandhi, he repeated the lines, calling them his mantra for the polls.