Uttarakhand crisis: 9 rebel Congress MLAs likely to join BJP

  • Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: May 11, 2016 10:52 IST
Former Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna along with other rebel Congress MLAs interact with journalists in Dehradun. (PTI)

The Supreme Court will hear the petition of nine rebel Congress legislators of Uttarakhand on Wednesday but they apparently don’t want to wait that long to decide their future course of action. After Tuesday’s trust vote, rebels are mulling to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Rebels told HT that they will hold meeting in New Delhi this week.

“Ninety-nine percent chances are that we will join BJP…final decision will be taken soon after mutual consultation (with other disqualified legislators),” said Harak Singh Rawat, who engineered the split along with former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna.

Harak, who has been in loggerheads with deposed chief minister Harish Rawat, said the voting inside the Uttarakhand assembly on Tuesday was on anticipated line.

Read | It’s over to SC as Rawat expects victory in Uttarakhand trust vote

“Had the court permitted us to vote then it would have been altogether a different situation,” Harak told HT over phone from New Delhi.

“Parliament passed budget for Uttarakhand and this proves our stand that Appropriation Bill had not passed on March 18”.

Besides Harak and Bahuguna, Shaila Rani Rawat, Shailendra Mohan Singhal, Umesh Sharma ‘Kau’, Pradeep Batra, Subodh Uniyal, Pranav Singh Champion and Amrita Rawat rebelled against Harish Rawat.

Read | Is Uttarakhand moral, psychological victory for Congress over BJP?

After several rounds of appeals and counter-appeals in courts, the nine rebels, disqualified by speaker Govind Kunjwal, were barred by the Supreme Court from voting in Tuesday’s floor test.

Among the nine names, Harak Singh was elected on a BJP ticket in 1991 and was the youngest minister in the Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh.

Amrita Rawat, whose husband Satpal Maharaj left the Congress in 2014 to join the BJP, is also okay with Harak’s plan.

Shailendra Mohan Singhal, a three time rebel MLA from Jaspur constituency also said that he is interested in joining BJP. Considered close to Vijay Bahuguna, Singhal also enjoys cordial relations with veteran Congressman ND Tiwari.

Read | As it happened: Cong claims victory in Uttarakhand trust vote

Subodh Uniyal, a close associate of Vijay Bahuguna, said they are considering options before making a final decision.

“We will meet this week and decide whether launching a political outfit is doable or should we join (BJP),” Uniyal told HT.

BJP sources said there was reservation among a section of leaders on welcoming the Congress rebels. Party general secretary Virender Bisht said “central leadership will take a call on the issue”.

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