After nine of the ruling Congress lawmakers switched allegiance to the opposition BJP, Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat said on Saturday he will resign if he loses majority on the floor of the House.
According to news agency ANI, Rawat has called a cabinet meeting at 3pm to chalk out the party’s strategy.
The Congress-led government in Uttarakhand plunged into crisis on Friday night as the BJP staked claim to power.
The crisis unfolded when rebel Congress legislators, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, supported the BJP’s demand for a conscience vote in favour of the appropriation bill in the assembly.
Late on Friday evening, BJP leader Ajay Bhatt led 27 party legislators to the Raj Bhawan to ask governor KK Paul to dismiss the Congress government, saying it doesn’t have the numbers. The opposition party sought to form the next government with the support of nine Congress rebels and a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator.
Earlier, Speaker GS Kunjwal served notices to the rebel MLAs who are camping in New Delhi, where they are scheduled to meet BJP president Amit Shah.
Sources say Congress is considering all options including luring the rebels and axing their membership through constitutional ways, in case they don’t change their mind.
State president Kishor Upadhyay said five to six Congress legislators, who are in New Delhi, are in touch with him.
“Legislators are in touch with me but I don’t want to open their names since their lives are in danger,” Upadhyay said.
He added the government has the numbers and is in a comfortable position.
CM Rawat also claimed that some of the legislators are in touch with him and intend to rejoin the party.
Rawat will call on governor Paul to brief him about the present political situation. Sources said the CM will also call on central party leaders in the national capital later in the afternoon.
The Congress has condemned the BJP for creating political crisis in the state.
The BJP said the government led by CM Rawat lost the confidence of legislators and should be dismissed. The party also said it is ready to form the government and face fresh elections.
“The governor should dismiss the Rawat government in Uttarakhand. It has no moral right to remain in power as it has lost the confidence of its MLAs,” BJP secretary Srikant Sharma told reporters in New Delhi.
Chief minister Rawat enjoyed the support of 42 legislators — 36 from the Congress including the nine rebel MLAs, three Independents, two BSP members and one MLA of UKD — while the BJP has 28 MLAs. The BJP’s total strength would be 37, a comfortable majority to form a government, if the nine Congress MLAs loyal to Bahuguna join the rival camp.
(With inputs from agencies)