Dehradun: The Bharatiya Janata Party today staked claim to form the government in Uttarakhand. A delegation of BJP leaders led by Bhagat Singh Koshiyari are set to meet the Governor and apprise him of the situation in the assembly. The BJP claims that it has the majority in the state assembly support of 12 Congress MLAs.
The Congress currently has 36 seats in the 71-seat Uttarakhand Assembly while the BJP has 28. The move follows speculation of 12 Congress rebels voting against the government in a crucial vote on the Finance Bill.
"We are going to ask the Governor to dismiss the government. There will be anew government in the state now" BJP MP Bhagat Singh Koshyari said outside Uttarakhand Raj Bhavan.
However, CM Harish Rawat denied any threat to the government in the state and that the majority of the Congress was intact while speaking to media personnel late in the evening today.
"There is no merit in the rumours of the Congress government being in a minority. If opposition has any doubt over our majority, it should give no confidence motion and we will prove our majority on the floor of the house," Rawat said.
On a question on rebel MLAs extending support to the BJP, Rawat alleged that the opposition was indulging in horse-trading and the party would take cognizance of any such event.
In dramatic scenes in the Uttarakhand Assembly earlier in the evening, a scuffle broke out between ministers Harak Singh Rawat and Mantri Prasad Nethani over a demand for voice vote on the Finance Bill.
The scuffle allegedly broke out between the two when Rawat tried to pull Nethani to the BJP's side during the calls for a voice vote, leading to a ruckus in the house.
There was huge uproar in the state Assembly earlier following Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal's rejection to the opposition's demand for a voice vote on the Finance Bill. The Bill, however, has been passed, averting immediate danger to the Harish Rawat-led government in the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) later claimed that of the 67 members present in the House, only 35 were with them while there were only 32 with the government. Supporters of Harak Singh Rawat were also seen raising slogans in his support and also argued with the Chief Minister's supporters.
Reports claimed that the Congress led-government in Uttarakhand was in a precarious situation, with 12 rebel Congress MLAs expected to cross vote during the Budget. The rebels are led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and Agriculture Minister Harak Singh Rawat.
The development came amid speculations that Vijay Bahuguna and Harak Singh are not happy with the functioning of the Congress government and that they being ignored by the party leadership.
Speculations were rife over the Congress government falling short of majority if it came to a vote on the Finance Bill in the house. There were rumours that 12 Congress MLAs will vote against their government in the state Assembly, in its budget session, to topple the Harish Rawat government.
The rebels were led by ex-chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and Agriculture minister Harak Singh Rawat.
10 Cong MLAs,1 BSP MLA & BJP MLAs going to Raj Bhavan to meet governor to complain against denial of voice vote on Finance Bill.
Bahuguna has been lobbying for the Rajya Sabha berth falling vacant after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Tarun Vijay's term gets over. On the other hand Harak Singh Rawat is seeking tickets for his supporters in the next state elections in the first half of 2012.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also seeking the help of rebel Congress MLAs in a move similar to the recent political development in Arunachal Pradesh in February.
Rawat currently runs his government with the support of Progressive Democratic Front (PDF), which is a platform of six non-Congress MLAs, including two BSP (excluding Late Surendra Rakesh), three independents and one UKD.