NEW DELHI: With the Uttarakhand Governor asking Chief Minister Harish Rawat to prove his majority in Assembly on March 28, the Congress government has sufficient time to win back its rebel MLAs. However, the BJP is keeping the flock of 35 MLAs, including nine rebels, together in Delhi, lest they be wooed back.
BJP leaders tried to present the crisis in the Rawat government as internal dissension within the Congress party and claimed they had not engineered any defection.
“We had told the Governor that we have the majority. The Congress government is in minority. It should go,” BJP leader and state in-charge of party affairs Shyam Jaju said.
The crisis precipitated after Uttarakhand police arrested BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi on charges of hitting a police horse. “The way he was arrested just before the session it was wrong. Each vote counts there. They denied him his fundamental right of participating in Assembly proceedings by arresting him,” Jaju added.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said the party was ready for elections and to form a government in Uttarakhand.
“35 MLAs have come to New Delhi and will meet the BJP president. Also, they will go to the President if the need arises. We have told the Governor that we have the majority and asked him to allow us to form the government. The Governor said he would ask for a report from the government and consider the matter,” Vijayvargiya said.
The BJP is weighing its options on whether or not to form a government in a state where elections are due within the next 12 months. Even if the BJP was able to form the government, Rawat would play the victim card thus robbing the BJP of any real advantage. On the other hand, the BJP also thinks forming a government would give the party an opportunity to run the state for one year and thus connect with the people.
The Uttarakhand crisis has coincided with the BJP’s national executive meeting currently underway in the national capital. The entire flock of MLAs have, therefore, been kept in a Gurgaon hotel under the watch of senior leaders. They are also expected to meet BJP chief Amit Shah soon.
Meanwhile, Rawat, in Dehradun, claimed that some of the rebel members were still in touch with him and he was confident of proving his majority or would step away from the post.
Admitting that the Congress MLAs had flouted the party whip by sitting on a dharna with opposition members, Rawat said that they were liable to be acted against in accordance with Constitutional provisions. Rawat also claimed that the so-called “disgruntled MLAs” continued to be members of the Congress legislature party.
The rebel MLAs included, the Congress has a strength of 36 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly. The ruling party also has the support of six members belonging to the Progressive Democratic Front.