Congress leaders and political experts gave the party a good chance to retain power in the 2017 assembly elections after the informal victory in the floor test on Tuesday.
Deposed chief minister Harish Rawat claimed victory in the Supreme Court-monitored trust vote, saying 33 lawmakers voted in the party’s favour that paves the way to lift President’s rule from the hill state and reinstate his government.
The top court will announce the results on Wednesday but celebrations have already begun in the Congress camp and congratulatory messages were pouring in too.
Central rule and the subsequent “victory” in the floor test have the changed political scenario in the state. Congress leaders were now sure of winning the bigger test — next year’s assembly polls.
The party gets a chance to revive the Rawat government’s development plans and ask for votes without the anti-incumbency factor bearing down on it.
In fact, Rawat took 11 populist decisions in less than 24 hours since the high court quashed President’s rule on April 21 and the Supreme Court overruled that order the next day.
Besides, he will not have to bother about dissidence, especially from rebel leader and former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, whom he had replaced in 2014 after an intense power struggle.
Congress leaders and independent analysts were of the same view that nearly two months of President’s rule and “unauthenticated” corruption charges against Rawat has created a sympathy wave among the people for the party.
“This has brought down the anti-incumbency factor. We are confident that the people are fully behind the Congress as the BJP stands exposed over its no-holds-barred moves to stage a political coup in the state,” former home minister Pritam Singh said.
“This was evident from visits to my constituency after the imposition of President’s rule.”
The Congress will project Rawat as the leader framed and ill-treated by the Centre.
“I have toured almost all districts after President’s rule was clamped on March 27. People are complaining about the BJP’s illegitimate attempts overthrow an elected government,” state Congress chief Kishor Upadhyay said.
Political observers held a similar view. Former principal secretary Mahesh Chandra said the BJP has definitely lost the edge.
“It would have given a tough fight if elections were held under circumstances prior to President’s rule. But now, Rawat is seen as a leader harassed by the central government,” he said.
“This may change political calculations in the assembly elections. But the Congress will have to sustain the tempo.”