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Ready to form govt in Uttarakhand, BJP awaits HC order on Prez rule

Uttarakhand crisis Updated: Apr 21, 2016 00:08 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand crisis

Congress rebel Vijay Bahuguna led a section of leaders to rebel against the Harish Rawat government last month, eventually pushing Uttarkhand into President’s rule.(HT file photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said it will try to form a government in Uttarakhand and not wait for a fresh poll, if the high court upholds the President’s rule imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27.

The hill state slipped into a crisis last month as Harish Rawat government was controversially dismissed after it failed to pass the annual budget in the assembly. Nine Congress MLAs, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna had voted against the bill.

Uttarakhand is slated for poll early next year along with Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

“We have the numbers required to form government. We are waiting for the court order to decide next course of action,” a senior BJP functionary told HT.

Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar MP Bhagat Singh Koshyari is the front runner for the chief minister’s post in the case BJP decided to form the government.

Koshyari comes from Kumaon region of Uttarakhand – Rawat’s stronghold – and served as CM between October 2001 and March 2002.

Former Congress leader Satpal Maharaj, who crossed over to the BJP ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha election, is another contender for the post. He is also a spiritual leader.

BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni added, “The BJP will do whatever is in the interest of the state. We created the state in 2000 and have always thought of its welfare. President rule was necessary after the March 18 constitutional crisis that left the state in a situation wherein it could not even pay salaries to its employees.”

Besides the 9 rebel Congress MLAs, the BJP is claiming support of around six more. They are from the Congress and the Progressive Democratic Front, which comprise Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the independents.

In the 71 member assembly, the Congress had 36 MLA, BJP had 28, BSP 2 and UKD one, besides three independents and one nominated member. Assembly Speaker has disqualified the nine rebel MLAs, which brings down the effective strength of the assembly to 61 and majority mark to 32. The rebel MLAs have challenged their disqualifications and any relief would be another shot in the arm for the BJP.