There appears to be no love lost between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the nine rebel Congress MLAs, who are considering floating their own political party for the 2017 assembly elections.
Supporters of most of the rebel leaders remain confident that the BJP would deliver on its promise to give them tickets, but a few are already gearing for an unfavourable turn of events.
“All nine of us have been promised tickets by the BJP,” said a rebel leader on condition of anonymity. “(We) were categorically told by the BJP leadership in Delhi that seats on which saffron candidates were weak would be offered to (us).”
However, well-placed sources close to three rebel legislators said their confidence in the BJP’s promise was waning of late. This, the supporters said, is because of the lack of communication from BJP leaders.
Sources in the BJP said they could not rely on the Congress rebels because their assembly membership was quashed and unlikely to be revoked. If the saffron party wanted to form the government in the state, it would instead lean towards independent MLAs who supported the Harish Rawat dispensation.
“There was no deal as such with the BJP for tickets,” said Vijay Chauhan, a close aide of Congress rebel Harak Singh Rawat. “The rebellion was against then chief minister Harish Rawat not against Congress.”
“My leader doesn’t need any help from any quarter as he is capable enough to win from any assembly segment in 2017 state elections. Records speak for themselves,” he added.
Nonetheless, the rebels are feeling the heat as the BJP shifts focus away from them.
“It appears they (the BJP) may disclaim their promise made to us, ...forcing us to take our own recourse,” said a legislator whose supporters in Congress said they are preparing to float a new political party.