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Express News Service

DEHRADUN: Amid talks of at least 60 former Congress leaders returning to the grand old party, Uttarakhand cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat and BJP MLA Umesh Sharma ‘Kau’ met the saffron party’s chief, JP Nadda, on Saturday in Delhi.

Both leaders were among the nine rebel Congress MLAs and ministers who had jumped to the BJP in 2016.  Interestingly, both the leaders were in the same flight with the leader of opposition, Pritam Singh, who was also travelling to Delhi to attend a meeting of the Congress Working Committee. “There are speculations of big responsibility to Harak Singh Rawat and perks to Kau as well as other rebels. The party does not want another embarrassment,” said a party insider from Uttarakhand BJP.

Anil Baluni, Rajya Sabha MP and national chief spokesperson of the BJP, was also present in the meeting. This comes after Yashpal Arya rejoined the Congress with his son Sanjiv in the last week. Arya had left the Congress for the BJP in January 2017. The duo won the elections in 2017 and the Yashpal was inducted as cabinet minister in the BJP government.

Dehradun-based political analyst Jay Singh Rawat said: “With Yashpal Arya and his son Sanjiv having returned to the Congress, the BJP is on alert mode. The ‘rebels’ see this as a perfect opportunity to negotiate. Harak Singh Rawat is the one who is known for voicing his dissent frequently. He and others are trying to squeeze the BJP as much as they can.”

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand unit of the Congress plans to re-admit at least 60 leaders who had either left the party or were expelled for various reasons. The party has formed a committee to oversee the  ghar wapsi of those who were either expelled or voluntarily left the party in last five-six years.

The names of these leaders or members, numbering more than 100, are likely to be announced around October 20. 

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