Inept Bahuguna leaves BJP red-faced
Soon after taking charge in Dehradun, it became amply clear that the reins of the government were in the hands of his son Saket Bahuguna, then working with the real estate division of corporate house India Bulls.
There were whispers that the backing of corporate houses played a major role in foisting Bahuguna for the job, to which he proved unequal. He prevailed over the Congress high command to nominate his son as party candidate for the bypolls to Tehri Garhwal Lok Sabha seat. Despite his father being chief minister, Saket Bahuguna lost the seat, eroding his father’s authority.
Soon the state was struck by a natural calamity and the ineptness of the Bahuguna regime in handling the crisis saw his exit and replacement by Harish Rawat in 2014. Though Rawat was able to bring a semblance of governance, he could not bring the factions in the party, on most of the occasions backed by corporate houses, together. They worked overtime to bring down the government, with several of the fly-by-night media houses unleashing sting operations including the one on CM’s principal secretary, a Gujarat cadre officer.
Under tremendous pressure from corporate backers, the dissidents lost patience with the Congress high command and got in touch with BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargia and state in-charge Shyam Jaju. The move to dislodge the government was given shape despite the reservations by the leader of opposition and state unit president Ajay Bhat. “The state leadership rightly judged the inability of Bahuguna to plan an overnight coup and also the risk of going with discredited and tainted leaders like Harak Singh Rawat,” said sources close to Bhatt. Bahuguna, despite free flow of money as alleged by ousted chief minister Harish Rawat, could manage to get only nine MLAs.
Meanwhile, Rawat so far has managed to keep his flock together despite some of the Congress MLAs not belonging to his faction. “The fear of losing floor test forced Centre to impose President’s rule, which has now become a greater embarrassment thanks to the HC order,” said another state BJP leader.