DEHRADUN: With BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya arriving in Dehradun on Sunday, political analysts in the hill state are suspecting that the saffron camp is working on a backup plan to form a government in case of a hung verdict.
The BJP general secretary, also known as ‘political spin doctor’, met the state’s top party leaders including Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and former CM Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
“The discussions are said to be centred around the strategy to deal with a situation if the party fails to reach the magic figure of 36 in the 70-strong Assembly,” said a party source.
As the BJP is on an all-out offensive mode, the Congress has decided to take a strategic retreat and may transfer its newly elected MLAs to a safer location where the party has its government, most preferably Rajasthan.
“We are prepared to counter any vicious plan by the BJP. The BJP and its leaders are known to play dirty but they will be disappointed this time. We are ready to tackle them,” said Ganesh Godiyal, state Congress president.
An important party meeting to be attended by party poll in-charge for Uttarakhand Pralhad Joshi is also being held on Monday.
The poll results will be declared on March 10.
Vijayvargiya is considered an expert in the politics of making and breaking and meanings are being read into the timing of his arrival just ahead of the poll results.
The stepped-up confabulations are being seen as the party's efforts to evolve a formula to cobble up a majority in case it misses the magic figure.
If the elections throw up a hung assembly with neither of the major players (Congress and BJP) getting a clear majority, the role of independents in government formation and also those of triumphant candidates from parties like the BSP, SP and UKD will become important.
The arrival of Vijayvargiya, who is said to have played a key role in the rebellion against Harish Rawat by his MLAs in 2016, is being seen from this angle.
The gathering of party strategists like Vijayvargiya shows that contrary to its claims of winning more than 60 seats this time, the BJP is not quite optimistic about getting a comfortable majority, political observer JS Rawat said.
If the party misses the majority mark narrowly it may try to sew up a majority with the support of either winning independents or victorious candidates from different parties, he said.
Fuelling speculation to this effect, BJP MLA from Badrinath Mahendra Bhatt said several Congress candidates who had strong chances of winning are in touch with the saffron party and their support could be taken if necessary to achieve the larger goal of making the country Congress-free.
However, Bhatt expressed confidence that the BJP will get a comfortable majority on its own and won't need the help of others.
Congress is also not leaving things to chance.
The party's poll campaign head and former chief minister Harish Rawat is in Delhi to discuss the possible post-poll scenarios with central leaders.
Many of the party's central leaders who had been quite active in the run-up to the assembly polls are also likely to arrive here in a day or two to see to it that its flock remains intact and there are no last-minute defections or switching of loyalties.
Rooms in a hotel at Rajpur road have already been booked for Congress central leaders coming here to oversee the process of government formation in the state.
(With PTI Inputs)