Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister and All India Congress Committee general secretary Harish Rawat faced one of the biggest defeats of his political career in this Lok Sabha polls. Har Da, as Harish Rawat is popular called, lost to BJP’s Ajay Bhatt from Nainital-US Nagar parliamentary seat by over 3.39 Lakh votes.
The Congress has had to suffer for the poor assessment and decision making of Harish Rawat in the hill state. By providing him the liberty, the party had to pay a heavy price. Harish Rawat affected three Lok Sabha seats — Haridwar, Almora and Nainital — through his usual approach of “I know the best”.
By abandoning Haridwar, Harish created candidate crisis for Congress and they had to field a new candidate from there. And that turned out to be a self-goal. Rawat annoyed Congress ticket hopefuls in Nainital by shifting and obtaining the party symbol. Infighting among Congress leaders started making news, with Rawat becoming active in Nainital. A divided Congress only made the work of BJP easy in Nainital.
As the campaigning for the Lok Sabha picked up the pace, Rawat involved leading Congress political leaders from Almora and Pithoragarh in his poll activities. This badly affected the Almora seat. With three senior Congress MLAs Govind Singh Kunjwal, Harish Dhami and Karan Mahara (all from Almora and Pithoragarh) engaged in Nainital, the Almora seat remained neglected. Congress candidate from Almora Pradeep Tamta found little help and manpower around him.
The defeat has dealt a severe blow to the political career of Harish Rawat. What he will do to revive his political fortune remains to be seen.