Amid reports of deep trouble for the Congress government in Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Harish Rawat claimed that he still “enjoys” a majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly. Accusing the opposition BJP of “misrepresenting facts”, Mr. Rawat went on say that he was ready to prove his strength 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 the press in Dehradun after emerging from a meeting with Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal.
The Chief Minister has now sought an appointment with Governor KK Paul to brief him about the entire political situation in the state.
Earlier on Friday, BJP called upon the state Governor KK Paul claiming to form next government in the state after parading its 27 MLAs at Raj Bhawan. BJP claimed the support of nine “rebel” Congress party MLAs and a lone BSP legislature. BJP on its own has 28 MLAs in the house of 70 seats. There were also reports of nine rebel Congress MLAs and 26 BJP MLAs arriving in Delhi early morning on Saturday and staying put in a hotel near Gurgaon.
But on his part, CM Rawat dismissed BJP’s claims telling the press that those “rebel” MLAs were still in touch with him.
“They have said they are still with the party and continue to be members of the Congress Legislature Party,” he said.
He, however, admitted that some Congress MLAs flouted the party whip on Friday by sitting on a dharna along with the opposition members. The Chief Minister also added that those were liable to be acted against in accordance with the Constitutional provisions.
While conceding that there were some differences of opinion within his party and the disgruntled members must be given time to realise their mistake, Harish Rawat said he was particularly hurt by the action of senior minister Harak Singh Rawat and former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, both of whom are said to be in the rebel camp.
“Coming as it did from the son of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna who always fought for secular values and stood against communal forces, Bahugunaji’s behaviour was no less shocking,” the Chief Minister said.
Congress party, which has a wafer-thin majority with 36 seats in the house of 70, has got a support of Progressive Democratic Front – a six-member combine of independent MLAs and other regional outfits.
Coming out of the meeting with Harish Rawat, Independent legislators Mantri Prasad Naithani and Dinesh Dhanai pledged PDF’s support to the incumbent Congress-led government. “PDF will stand like a rock behind Harish Rawat come what may,” Naithani said.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, the Congress party 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 said, adding that his party is “not scared” by the conspiracy and would deliberate on all legal, political and constitutional steps to shake off the challenge to the government.
(With inputs from the PTI)