Three Congress and two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators might join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the CBI reportedly took a decision to summon former chief minister Harish Rawat in connection with a sting operation.
In the sting operation, Rawat was shown allegedly settling a deal with a TV journalist to bring back the rebel MLAs, but the Congress termed it a ‘baseless allegation’.
The BSP MLAs were part of the Rawat-led Congress government which had lost majority in the House on March 18 during the budget session, and the Centre imposed President’s rule on the state.
The issue went to the Uttarakhand High Court and the Supreme Court which asked the Centre to conduct a floor test of the Rawat-led government to prove majority on May 6.
The three Congress legislators, who might desert the party, were at Delhi with BJP leaders, sources in the BJP told Hindustan Times on Thursday.
Also, the two BSP MLAs, Sarbat Kareem Ansari and Haridas, reportedly parted ways with the Congress and the PDF, another partner of the Rawat-led government, sources said.
While the Congress refuted the BJP claim that its legislators had left the party, sources said the CBI summons to Rawat caused panic among the Congress legislators.
State Congress president Kishor Upadhyay told HT, “No Congress legislator has gone anywhere. Though they are still after our MLAs, the BJP leadership will achieve nothing in the end.”
PCC vice president Shankar Chand Ramola told HT, “If the CBI arrests Rawat, it will be an electoral hara-kiri for the BJP. It will not be tolerated, and the party workers will tell the people what shame the BJP has brought to the state.”
Similarly, Rawat’s media in-charge Surendra Kumar Aggarwal said, “Nothing is unexpected of the BJP which can do anything to justify its ill designs. First they ousted an elected government, then raised CD issue; and now a CBI inquiry. It won’t be surprising if the arrest takes place, but the party will expose the BJP. The CBI inquiry itself can be an election issue.”
Rajdendra Shah, a PCC functionary and an aide of Harish Rawat, said the party would go to the people’s court for justice.