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BJP stakes claim to form govt in Uttarakhand; 35 MLAs including 9 Congress rebels reach Delhi

In a dramatic development and amid political crisis in Uttarakhand, 35 MLAs including 9 from the ruling Congress arrived here early this morning. They had boarded a chartered flight in the wee hours to Delhi from Dehradun's Jolly Grant Airport.

India TV Politics Desk [ Updated: March 19, 2016 10:14 IST ]
Uttarakhand MLAs
Uttarakhand MLAs

New Delhi/ Dehradun: In a dramatic development and amid political crisis in Uttarakhand, 35 MLAs including 9 from the ruling Congress arrived here early this morning. They had boarded a chartered flight in the wee hours to Delhi from Dehradun's Jolly Grant Airport.

After reaching the national capital, rebel Congress MLA Harak Singh Rawat said, "After this government is dismissed, we'll give a healthy government to the state.”

Another Congress leader former Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna said, "This government was involved in massive corruption and taking Uttarakhand to destruction. Yesterday we met the Governor and convinced him that this government is in a minority and he should dismiss it."

The rebel Congress MLAs are: Harak Singh Rawat, Amrita Rawat, Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion, Shaila Rani Rawat, Pradip Batra, Subodh Uniyal, a confirmed Bahuguna loyalist, Shailendra Mohan Singhal and Umesh Sharma.

BJP leader Ajay Bhatt said that they would stake a claim to form a government after the Governor dismisses the present government.

Earlier on Friday night, crisis hit the four-year-old Congress government in Uttarakhand when 9 party MLAs raised a banner of revolt and backed BJP which staked claim to form a government.

A three-member BJP delegation comprising former chief minister and MP Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, BJP in-charge of Uttarakhand Shyam Jaju and general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya met Governor KK Paul and said that the Harish Rawat government was in a minority and sought its dismissal.

According to Raj Bhavan sources, the BJP had staked claim to form the government with the support of the rebel Congress MLAs.

The simmering discontent within a section of Congress legislature came to the fore on a day of fast paced developments in the hill state when the nine Congress rebels joined the BJP in the state Assembly in demanding a division of votes amid chaos on the state's annual budget that could have led to its fall.

State Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, however, rejected the demand for the division of votes triggering chaos in the Assembly with both Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs sitting on a dharna in the well of the House to insist on this procedure terming it their democratic right.

The Congress has a strength of 36 MLAs in the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly. The ruling party also has the support of 6 members of the Progressive Democratic Front, while the BJP has 28 MLAs.

Rejecting the demand by the opposition, Speaker Kunjwal announced passage of the budget by voice vote and adjournment of the House till March 28 before he left his chair in the midst of prevailing din.

Meanwhile in Dehradun, beleaugered CM Harish Rawat claimed he has ‘full majority’ and warned of disciplinary action against the rebels. “We have full majority. All our members are in tact. The figures being touted (about our government’s strength being reduced) are totally wrong,” he told reporters.

He said if some Congress MLAs, ‘being lured’ by the BJP, are making any claim, the party would take cognisance of it and ‘whatever action is taken within the party in such cases will be taken.’

Rawat said the party will find out who the rebel Congress MLAs are and ‘so far, only one face has come to the fore’. The Chief Minister also accused the Opposition of horse-trading and dared it to move a no confidence motion, saying he was ready to prove majority in the House.

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