Chief minister Harish Rawat is set to face a major test next month when Uttarakhand lawmakers vote to elect a representative to the Rajya Sabha from the hill state.
The tenure of Tarun Vijay will end in June and voting to elect a new member to the Upper House will take place on June 11.
Rawat was reinstated as the CM after an assembly floor test ordered by the Supreme Court to break a deadlock created by imposition of President’s Rule.
In a changed political scenario, the ruling Congress has 26 MLAs, down from 36 it had till March 18 when the state plunged into the political crisis following a rebellion by nine of Rawat’s MLAs. Rawat also has the support of 6 MLAs from fringe parties and independents.
The BJP has 27 members. The trust vote in the assembly recently witnessed one MLA each from Congress and BJP switching sides. Though the Congress is putting up a brave face, party insiders said there are fears of cross-voting during the Rajya Sabha polls which would be a huge embarrassment for the party.
The party’s state president Kishor Upadhyay, however, said MLAs both from Congress and supporting group are standing behind the chief minister. “I don’t think any such thing (cross-voting) could happen. It is a buzz the BJP is creating,” he told HT.
However, the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) – the six-member group supporting Rawat, said the Congress must show courtesy and nominate a PDF member this time.
PDF president Mantra Prasad Naithani said: “PDF members supported three Congress candidates in the previous RS polls therefore PDF should get a chance this time.”