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Uttarakhand Elections 2017: Congress in-fighting spills over, two 'nominations' from one seat

Manmohan Mall filed nominations from Dhanolti seat in Uttarakhand as a Congress candidate on Friday, landing the party in a difficult situation as ruling ally PDF member Pritam Singh Panwar is already in the fray from the seat as an Independent and has 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 constituencies after announcement of candidates. However, PCC president Kishore Upadhyay said a solution will be found after taking all sides into confidence.

PCC sources said after a consensus was reached over Congress contesting all the 70 assembly seats in the state, the party announced its first list of 63 candidates followed by a second of seven nominees. All of them were distributed party symbols.

Though Chief Minister Harish Rawat was in favour of contesting the polls in alliance with Progressive Democratic Front and the party’s list of candidates included names of most of its members, Dinesh Dhanai and Panwar decided to contest as Independents.

As the party was still considering extending support to Panwar, Mall filed nominations on the last day of nominations on Friday as the party’s official candidate. When contacted Upadhyay said there was no ego involved. “All we want is to emerge victorious on March 11 when the results of the assembly polls are announced,” he said.

He also said Mall had been informed about Panwar expecting the party to throw its weight behind him. However, he expressed hope that the matter will be sorted out in consultation with Rawat, Panwar and Mall.

On the other hand, Uttarakhand Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay had also asked ‘disappointed’ ticket aspirants within the party not to contest the state Assembly polls as Independents against party nominees and work unitedly for the party’s victory.

Talking to reporters in Dehradun, Upadhyay said party leaders who had announced that they would contest as Independents should “drop the plan for the party’s sake”, and those who had already entered the fray should withdraw before it was too late.

Reminding them of the recent pledge they had taken at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Rishikesh that they will not oppose the official nominees of the party, let alone contesting against them, Upadhyay said, “After taking a pledge like that it becomes the duty of every Congress worker to throw all their might into ensuring the win of party’s official candidates.” Breaking a vow is sinful, he said.

Congress is grappling with rebellion from within the party in over half a dozen seats in the state, including Sahaspur, from where Upadhyay himself is the party’s official nominee. Party leader Aryendra Sharma, who was a strong contender for the seat, has entered the fray as an Independent from there after resigning from all party positions.

When asked about Sharma’s candidature, Upadhyay said he would appeal to him too to withdraw from the fray in favour of the party’s official nominee. “He (Sharma) should understand that when he was fielded by the party last time from the seat, some party workers must have been denied a ticket from there,” the Congress state unit chief said.

Disappointed ticket seekers within the party have decided to contest as Independents from over half a dozen seats in the state including Sahaspur, Dehradun Cantt, Rudraprayag and Devprayag threatening to mar the party’s poll prospects.

The hill state along with Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Goa goes to poll next month.