Despite falling short of majority, ruling BJP in Uttarakhand on Wednesday began efforts to form a government with its senior leaders trying to establish contact with independent MLAs and the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD).
"We are assessing the political situation. In case, the party thinks that it is appropriate to form the government, we will surely stake our claim," said outgoing chief minister BC Khanduri as party bigwigs, including Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar held talks in Dehradun.
BJP, which got 31 seats, one short of Congress, has also convened a meeting of its newly-elected MLAs. "We will take the opinion of all our MLAs also on the formation of new government," said Khanduri.
BJP's move came after Congress, too, began efforts to form a new government in Uttarakhand following its wafer-thin one seat lead against the ruling BJP in the cliff-hanger contest for the state assembly polls, the results for which were declared on Tuesday.
As Congress emerged as the single largest party, a high-level delegation of the party called on Governor Margaret Alva late on Tuesday evening and staked claim to form the new government. Congress has also convened a meeting of the CLP, party sources said.
Meanwhile, a high-level Congress delegation led by election in-charge Chaudhary Birendra Singh went to New Delhi to hold discussions with the party high command on Wednesday.
Out of the 70 seats, the Congress won 32 seats and the ruling BJP followed closely with 31 seats. Both the parties failed to touch the magic figure of 36 in the 70-member House.
The biggest surprise came when Khanduri, who led the Khanduri hain zaroori campaign, was defeated by SS Negi of Congress from Kotdwar seat by 4,632 votes.
He is the first chief minister, who lost the elections in the 12-years of state's history since it was created in 2000.
BSP, which can play a crucial role in the formation of new government, has won three seats.
Uttarakhand Kranti Dal-Panwar (UKD-P) has also won one seat while independents, who can also play key role, have won from three seats.
The Congress sources said that the party would seek support from independents as well as UKD for the formation of new government.