Uttarakhand crisis: Sonia holds meet with leaders

New Delhi: With the crisis continuing over the issue of chief ministership in Uttarakhand, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today held deliberations with newly sworn-in Chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and senior party leaders to resolve the matter. AICC general secretary incharge for Uttarakhand Chaudhary Birender Singh, Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Gandhi`s political secretary Ahmad Patel were also present in the meeting, party sources said.

The Congress is also considering the name of Harish Rawat`s wife for Rajya Sabha nomination for the lone vacant seat from the hill state, to defuse the situation. The issue is believed to have been discussed in the meeting. The date of nomination for the Rajya Sabha seat ends tomorrow, and the party has to take a decision on its nominee by tonight.

There are indications that the party is willing to accommodate some of the demands of Rawat, who led a banner of revolt in the party. Birender Singh had yesterday said that the party high command wanted to give Rawat his due. Bahuguna told reporters, "Rawat and I cannot decide (on the issue)…There has to be a stamp of Sonia Gandhi on our suggestions…Harish Rawat is my esteemed colleague. He can have his own views, but he is a Congressman to the core."

Meanwhile, the meeting of Rawat and his supporters continued throughout the day at his residence here. Sources close to him said any compromise will happen only if his concerns are taken on board. It is learnt that Rawat is demanding key positions in Uttarakhand government for his loyalists. His camp is also interested in positions of PCC chief and Assembly Speaker.