The ruling Congress is trying to safeguard its position as it expects an offensive from the BJP after the Lok Sabha election results are declared on May 16.
Sources in the Congress party said at least five sitting BJP MLAs are in touch with Congress leaders and may switch over their loyalty in the coming days. But the state BJP leaderships denied that its legislators are in touch either with chief minister Harish Rawat or the Congress party. However, Congress leaders said that four of these BJP MLAs are from Tehri Garhwal LS segment and one from Nainital LS constituency in Kumaon.
According to Congress sources, the state government has made a lucrative offer to the five MLAs if they decide to resign as BJP legislators. Besides offering positions in the present government, the Congress has also promised them party tickets in the next elections from their present constituencies. The Congress has also offered to field these BJP MLAs as party candidates in by-elections following their resignations.
Sources said the Congress government wants to have a majority in the state assembly and does not want to depend on the Progressive Democratic Front’s seven MLAs. The Harish Rawat government has at present 33 Congress MLAs while two expelled BSP MLAs have extended their support to the Congress. The BSP MLAs may join the Congress anytime in the coming days taking up the Congress tally in the state assembly to exactly half way mark. However, in case the ruling party manages to win over five BJP MLAs latter’s strength in the state assembly will go down to 26 while Congress legislative wing will have 33-35 (by adding expelled BSP MLAs) legislators.
Despite claims by the Congress being in touch with five opposition MLAs, the BJP has rejected this theory alleging that ruling party is trying to present a good picture before the people as it fears the situation after election results are declared. “The Congress party is afraid and worried about saving its legislators. It is trying to send out a message of breaking up BJP MLAs,” said state BJP president Tirath Singh Rawat.