The nine rebel Congress legislators, whose demand for a vote on Money Bill led to imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand, are expected to join the Bhartiya Janta Party after meeting in New Delhi this week.
“Ninety-nine percent chances are that we will join BJP…final decision will be taken soon after mutual consultation (with other disqualified legislators),” said Harak Singh Rawat, who engineered the split along with former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna.
Harak, who has been in loggerheads with deposed chief minister Harish Rawat, said the voting inside the Uttarakhand assembly on Tuesday was on anticipated line.
“Had the court permitted us to vote then it would have been altogether a different situation,” Harak told HT over phone from New Delhi.
“Parliament passed budget for Uttarakhand and this proves our stand that Appropriation Bill had not passed on March 18”.
Besides Harak and Bahuguna, Shaila Rani Rawat, Shailendra Mohan Singhal, Umesh Sharma ‘Kau’, Pradeep Batra, Subodh Uniyal, Pranav Singh Champion and Amrita Rawat rebelled against Harish Rawat.
After several rounds of appeals and counter-appeals in courts, the nine rebels, disqualified by speaker Govind Kunjwal, were barred by the Supreme Court from voting in Tuesday’s floor test.
Among the nine names, Harak Singh was elected on a BJP ticket in 1991 and was the youngest minister in the Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh.
Amrita Rawat, whose husband Satpal Maharaj left the Congress in 2014 to join the BJP, is also okay with Harak’s plan.
Subodh Uniyal, a close associate of Vijay Bahuguna, said they are considering options before making a final decision.
“We will meet this week and decide whether launching a political outfit is doable or should we join (BJP),” Uniyal told HT.
BJP sources said there was reservation among a section of leaders on welcoming the Congress rebels. Party general secretary Virender Bisht said “central leadership will take a call on the issue”.