‘Holding’ MLAs becomes a costly affair for parties in Uttarakhand

  • Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Mar 31, 2016 13:28 IST
The Congress, which has been hit by the political turmoil in Uttarakhand, is also taking precautions to make sure its legislators don’t become ‘soft targets’ for ‘hunters.

The ongoing political crisis in Uttarakhand has been giving nightmares to parties in the hill state as they are forced to keep an eye on their legislators round the clock. It has been more than 10 days since the nine Congress legislators rebelled against the then chief minister Harish Rawat. Now, fearing ‘poaching’ by rival outfits, political parties in the state are leaving no stone unturned to keep their legislators together.

The BJP, for instance, put up all of its legislators to a resort on the outskirts of state capital Dehradun on Wednesday.

Earlier, the legislators, along with the Congress rebels, were flown to a 7-star hotel in Gurgaon. From there, the flock was moved to a resort of a BJP leader near Jaipur. “It is like a holiday trip. We are on a junket on party expenses,” said a BJP MLA. The BJP legislators were also taken on a trip to Pushkar and some destinations near Jaipur.

Uttarakhand BJP in-charge Shyam Jaju and senior leader Kailash Vijayvargiya interact with party leaders in Dehradun on Wednesday. (PTI)

The Congress, which has been hit by the political turmoil, is also taking precautions to make sure its legislators don’t become ‘soft targets’ for ‘hunters’. The party’s legislators were dropped off at a ‘safe’ resort near Corbett National Park on March 21 on charted choppers. After spending nearly a week there, they were flown back to Dehradun on March 27.

Congress leader Ambika Soni meets party MLAs in Dehradun. (PTI)

In a bid to keep the legislators ‘happy’, Rawat hosted a lunch for them in a hotel, away from the chaos of the capital on Wednesday. “The rebels have gone and the loyal remain with us. We trust our legislators but not the poachers,” said Jot Singh Bisht, state Congress vice-president.

On the other hand, Congress rebels have preferred to remain aloof. They are in Delhi and likely to return to the state capital on Thursday. One of the rebel legislators, on condition of anonymity, said the political situation is “fluid in Uttarakhand and the Congress can try to lure weak links.” Many legislators across parties felt they should go back to their constituencies. BJP MLA Pushkar Singh Dhami said there were not obligated to stay put in the Capital. “I will be going back to my assembly constituency shortly,” he added.

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