DEHRADUN/NEW DELHI: The political crisis in Uttarakhand escalated today with BJP, claiming the support of rebel Congress MLAs, stepping up efforts to dislodge Chief Minister Harish Rawat who asserted that he was ready to prove his majority in the Assembly.
On a day of claims and counter-claims by BJP and the Congress, Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal said the "anti-defection law is in place and whoever is found guilty of violating it will have to be acted against".
"All Congress MLAs voted with the government when the previous bill was passed in the Assembly and nobody had challenged the bill. Even the BJP accepts the voice vote," he said.
Asked about BJP's no-confidence notice against him, Kunjwal said,"We will see when it comes in the Assembly. Members of the legislative Assembly will discuss and decide if the no-confidence notice is valid or not". Hitting back at the BJP, Congress accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of seeking to destabilise non-BJP governments through lure of money and political power.
"The duo of Modi and Shah are infamous for forcible eviction of elected governments in this country. Elected government are being destabilised by a sinister conspiracy. After Arunachal Pradesh, it is Uttarakhand," Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi.
In Dehradun, BJP intensified efforts to dislodge the Rawat government, claiming it has majority in Uttarakhand Assembly and should be invited to form the government as the incumbent Congress dispensation has been reduced to a minority.
"The Harish Rawat government has lost majority. Today BJP has the numbers with the support of rebel Congress MLAs to form a new government in Uttarakhand," Shyam Jaju, the state in-charge of BJP, told PTI.
Jaju said the party is willing to present the MLAs whose support it enjoys before President Pranab Mukherjee and insisted that Rawat should immediately resign given the loss of majority.
Nine rebel Congress MLAs have reached Delhi and are in touch with BJP leaders, he said. Accusing BJP of misrepresenting facts, Rawat asserted that he still enjoys a majority in the Uttarakhand Assembly and was ready to prove it on the floor of the House.
"Those who are saying they have support of 35 MLAs are misrepresenting facts. I am confident that I still have a majority in the Assembly and can prove it on the floor of the House," he told reporters after emerging from a meeting with Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal.
Rawat said that five of nine rebel Congress MLAs were in touch with him. The rebel MLAs included, Congress has a strength of 36 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly. The ruling party also has the support of six members of the Progressive Democratic Front.
The Assembly position: