The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Uttarakhand unit may witness a rebellion if its central leadership chooses to give party tickets to nine Congress rebels and ignore its veterans in the 2017 assembly polls, party insiders have warned.
The nine rebels, who formally joined the BJP in Delhi on May 18, may be favoured by the saffron party as they had supported its demand for a vote on the money bill in the assembly, plunging the state into a political crisis that lasted for nearly two months.
The BJP is also likely to give party ticket to another Congress rebel, Rekha Arya, in the next election. Arya, they said, may be “awarded” for voting in favour of the BJP during the Supreme Court-monitored floor test, which was won by the Congress government on May 10. Arya is yet to join the BJP.
“If our central leaders give those 10 new entrants party tickets in the next assembly election, it will lead to massive rebellion,” a senior state BJP office-bearer, who is aspiring for a party ticket in the assembly elections, warned.
The BJP top brass, he said, may persuade the state party functionaries against seeking party tickets but the leadership won’t be able to convince the followers of the local leaders.
He cited the example of the Congress MLA and the recently expelled minister from the Congress government, Harak Singh Rawat. The heavyweight leader represents the Rudraprayag assembly constituency but is said to be unsure about getting re-elected from there. Singh has reportedly asked the BJP central leadership to field him from other constituency in the next assembly polls.
The party, therefore, is toying with the idea of fielding him from either of the three assembly constituencies – Sahaspur, Doiwala and Kotdwar. “But if Harak Singh contests from any of these three seats, there is a possibility of a massive rebellion by our local ticket aspirants and their supporters,” he told HT.
The same goes for the rebel Congress MLA from Roorkee, Pradeep Batra. “If our party decides to repeat him from that constituency, it is bound to face a rebellion from our local leader and ticket aspirant Suresh Chandra who was defeated by Batra in the 2012 assembly polls,” another BJP leader said.
The BJP may also face rebellion in Sitarganj, currently represented by the rebel Congress MLA and former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, if the party leadership decides to field his younger son Saurav from that seat.
State BJP spokesperson Virendra Singh Bisht, however, told HT, “Our central leadership is confident of tackling such a situation by persuading all our local party leaders as well as their supporters to keep the party’s interests above their own.”