In an apparent bid to prevent them from being taken away by the Congress, the BJP reportedly whisked away about 20 of its Uttarakhand MLAs to Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, and virtually kept them hostage at a city hotel.
BJP state president Prabhat Jha, however, said the MLAs had come there to pay their respects to the presiding deity of the Mahakal temple.
MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited Ujjain on Thursday afternoon but returned without going to the hotel.
Some Congress MLAs loyal to Union minister of state Harish Rawat are still holding out -- asking the leadership to make him Uttarakhand chief minister instead of Vijay Bahuguna, who has been sworn in.
In the 70-member Uttarakhand assembly, the BJP has 31 MLAs, the Congress has 32, and the BSP three. Besides this, there are four independents. This puts the Vijay Bahuguna government in a minority, even though he enjoys the support of independents as well as BSP members.
MP BJP general secretary Arvind Menon is supervising the arrangements for the MLAs. The gates of the hotel have been closed, and armed policemen have been deputed to prevent the entry of mediapersons.
The session of the new Uttarakhand assembly will begin on March 26, and Bahuguna would have to prove his majority on March 29.