2012 was an eventful year for Uttarakhand

Vijay Bahuguna

2012 was an eventful year for Uttarakhand which saw the BJP being ousted from power, a high decibel drama that preceded the formation of a Congress government and a series of natural calamities which claimed over 100 lives.

The January Assembly polls threw up a hung assembly with none of the parties getting a clear mandate in the 70-member House. The Congress just managed to edge out the BJP winning 32 seats against the saffron party's 31 seat tally. The BSP and the Independents won three seats each while Uttarakhand Kranti Dal bagged one seat.

But the trouble began with the Congress naming then Tehri MP Vijay Bahuguna as chief minister prompting party strongman and Haridwar MP Harish Rawat, who was Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs at the time, to revolt against the party leadership.

Rawat felt ignored as it was the second time his chances of becoming chief minister had been scuttled. A decade ago, he had lost the race to party stalwart N D Tiwari.

To quell the rebellion, the party high command deputed political secretary Ahmed Patel, AICC general secretaries Ghulam Nabi Azad and Chaudhry Birender Singh to pacify Rawat who was reportedly promised elevation to Cabinet rank in the next reshuffle and plum ministerial berths for his supporters in Uttarakhand.

The storm finally subsided after a prolonged stalemate within the Congress over the post of chief minister. It took Bahuguna longer than normal to put a full strength council of ministers in place.

Not long after the political crisis subsided, Bahuguna registered a big win in the Sitaganj Assembly by-election defeating his nearest rival, BJP's Prakash Pant.

With this win, the Congress increased its tally to 33. The BJP's strength went down to 30. The Sitarganj seat had fallen vacant after BJP legislator Kiran Mandal resigned to join the Congress.

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