Rebel Congress leader and former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna said on Tuesday that he along with eight other party MLAs who shifted their allegiance to the BJP will “seriously consider” homecoming if Harish Rawat is removed from the party.
“We will seriously consider rejoining the Congress if Harish Rawat is removed from the party,” Bahuguna said.
He told HT that he will file a defamation suit against Rawat if the latter did not apologise for his allegation that the BJP bribed him to win his support, within three days. “I have already served him a court notice,” Bahuguna said.
Rawat, however, denied having received any court notice from Bahuguna. “Where has he filed the defamation case – in Mumbai (high court) or elsewhere?” the recently unseated CM jocularly said at a press conference. “I have not received any notice…We will offer our reaction when we receive it.”
Bahuguna questioned Rawat’s claim that the CD in which he was recently shown brokering a deal worth crores to buy back the nine rebel MLAs was fake. “If the CD is fake or concocted why doesn’t he (Rawat) file an FIR against the editor-in-chief of the television channel who did the sting operation? Or, why doesn’t he deny having met the journalist concerned,” the former CM who was replaced by Rawat in 2013 following a change of guard in the state said.
Bahuguna alleged that Rawat made the allegations of bribery against him to divert the people’s attention from the fact that he did not resign as the chief minister after his government lost its majority after the money bill fell through in the assembly.
The former CM said Rawat’s allegation of bribery against him is baseless. “There has to be some material…some evidence to substantiate the allegation,” Bahuguna said.
He accused Rawat of harassing him and Congress veteran N D Tiwari when they were in power. “I gracefully resigned in compliance with high command’s directions. If I wanted I would not let Rawat replace me as the majority of the Congress legislators were against him,” he said.
“We are keeping all our options open,” he said when asked if he might join the BJP.