BJP, Cong so near, yet so far

Who will form the government in Uttarakhand is as hazy as it is clear in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Anupam Trivedi reports. Decisive factors | Celebration, missing, only calculation | Khanduri lost to internal politics, outsider plank
Hindustan Times | By Anupam Trivedi, Dehradun
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2012 08:58 AM IST

Who will form the government in Uttarakhand is as hazy as it is clear in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.

However, the BJP and the Congress are equally confident.

The Congress has welcomed the mandate. "We will meet the governor and stake claim," said Birender Singh, who is in charge of Uttarakhand affairs.

BJP state president BS Chupal said his party had the 'required' numbers to form the government. In the 2007 assembly polls, the party had got 34 seats, two fewer than the 36 needed.

In the 2012 assembly polls, the BJP tally could not cross 31 whereas the Congress too has fallen four short of 36.

"Raj Bhawan is keeping an eye on the developments," said a source at the governor's house.

Meanwhile, both the camps have begun back channel talks on forming the government.

Both the Congress and BJP are banking on the support of three independents, all of whom have a Congress background.

Preetam Panwar, the lone MLA of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, has also been approached.

Though the Congress has performed quite well in the hill districts, the party has suffered a setback in the plains. It could win only in five seats in two major districts - Haridwar and Udhamsingh Nagar - which together account for 20 seats.

Of the 11 assembly seats in Haridwar, the party won only three.

"Here the mandate is against union minister of state Harish Rawat, who also happens to be the MP from Haridwar," a party functionary said.

The Uttarakhand verdict has come as a setback for the Bahujan Samaj Party as its number of MLAs has slipped from eight to three.

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