Sulking Union minister Harish Rawat resigns

Dehra Dun: Union minister Harish Rawat, who lost in the race for Uttarakhand Chief Ministership, is sulking and said to have resigned from the Union government.

Rawat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Parliamentary Affairs, sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress sources said. "We can only confirm that the resignation has been sent," said a Congress leader close to Rawat.

The move comes after the the Congress High Command overlooked his claims for the Chief Minister`s post which has gone to another MP Vijay Bahuguna.

This is the second time that Rawat`s claim has been ignored as some ten years back N D Tiwari was made the Chief Minister almost at the 11th hour by the party leadership.

When asked whether he was planning to resign, Rawat declined to confirm or deny. "I don`t want to make any comment," Rawat told PTI. Rawat, representing Hardwar constituency, was a strong contender for the post.

Amid reports that Rawat had resigned, chief minister-designate Bahuguna said the party was ready to handle any kind of crisis. "This is a pressure tactic. We will handle it," said Bahuguna.The supporters of Rawat would boycott the swearing in ceremony of Bahuguna.

With Bahuguna coming under pressure, he would now take oath alone, his close aide Sabodh Unniyal, an MLA from Narendra Nagar said. "Only Bahuguna ji will take oath today," he said.

Soon after Bahuguna was named as Uttarakhand Chief Minister, factional feud came to the fore in Congress` state unit with legislators close to Rawat protesting the move.

Raising slogans, angry supporters of Rawat, who gathered at his house here last night, wanted to know why he was ignored for the top slot and egged him to split the party.

In a bid to placate a sulking Rawat, Bahuguna, his sister and UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi met the union minister at his residence. Sources had said 18 legislators owing allegiance to Rawat confabulated with him till late in the night on Monday.