The BJP’s war among top leaders after the Lok Sabha poll debacle is emboldening rebels in the party-ruled states, particularly Uttarakhand where it lost all the five parliamentary seats, to openly seek a change of chief minister.
Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, the arch-rival of Chief Minister BC Khanduri, on Wednesday quit as Rajya Sabha member in his last-ditch bid to pressurise the party to remove Khanduri from the post.
Choosing his birthday to act, Koshiyari (67) “sacrificed” more than five years of his membership of the Upper House, as the central BJP had refused to respond to his deadline of Tuesday to respond against Khanduri (75).
Koshiyari said,” I have quit as a member of the Rajya Sabha. I have sent my resignation to the chairman. I will work like an ordinary party worker to resurrect the BJP in Uttarakhand and take it to the victory path in the 2012 assembly elections.”
He told HT that he was not in any race for Khanduri’s job and quit the Rajya Sabha because he was not doing any justice to his people. “I was not feeling comfortable with what I was doing in New Delhi.”
But his decision was seen as a way to mount pressure on Khanduri to step down.
The BJP’s national executive is due to meet on June 20 and 21 where the poll debacle is bound to set off fireworks. Khanduri had offered to resign amid intra-party bickerings after the BJP lost all the five Lok Sabha seats in the state. But the BJP’s parliamentary board deferred a decision on his future after it heard its observers say that a majority of party MLAs wanted him to continue in office.
Koshiyari, who is close to BJP chief Rajnath Singh, is angry that Khanduri has won more than a temporary reprieve after the BJP’s victory in a by-poll for Karpol seat.
The BJP enjoys a majority of two in the assembly of 69. The Congress has 19, BSP 7 and Uttarakhand Kranti Dal 3. There’re 4 Independents as well.
Inputs from Utpal Parashar from Dehra Dun