New Delhi: After urging Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul to dismiss the incumbent Harish Rawat-led Congress Government, 26 BJP MLAs, along with nine rebel Congress MLAs, left for Delhi in a 72-seater chartered flight. They are likely to meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in the national capital.
BJP leader Ajay Bhatt said that they would stake claim to form a government after the Governor dismisses the present government. "We have 35 MLAs and Congress has 32 MLAs. When the voting took place, our 26 and 9 Congress MLAs voted, while three were absent. Out of the three, one of our MLAs was arrested, so we have clear majority... We have not staked a claim yet. Let this government be dismissed first," he said.
Echoing similar views, BJP leader Shyam Jaju said, "We have requested the Governor to immediately dismiss the government. We have 35 MLAs, 9 from Congress and 26 from BJP."
In the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly, the ruling Congress has 36 MLAs, while it has support of three Independents, two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and one Uttarakhand Kranti Dal MLAs.
If the BJP claim is to be believed, after nine rebel MLAs break away from the Congress, the ruling party will be reduced to 27; and if they join the BJP in its quest, their number will reach 35 — BJP 26 and nine Congress rebels.
Besides 26, BJP has two more MLAs — Ganesh Joshi, who has been arrested by police in connection with the attack on a police horse and Bhim Lal Arya, who was suspended.
The development came in the wake of an upheaval in the ruling government as nine MLAs of the ruling party revolted against the leadership of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat.
Despite the seething tension, the beleaguered chief minister Harish Rawat said on Friday night that he has 'full majority' and warned of disciplinary action against the rebels. "We have full majority. All our members are intact. The figures being touted are totally wrong," he said.
He said that in case if some Congress MLAs are being 'lured' by BJP, the party would take cognizance of it and actions will be taken against them adhering to the policies of the party.
Rawat said the party would find out who the rebel Congress MLAs were, so far, only one MLA’s name has come to the fore.
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 K K Paul on Friday night and said the Harish Rawat government was in a minority and sought its dismissal.
According to Raj Bhavan sources, BJP staked claim to form the government with the support of the rebel Congress MLAs.
Later, the Chief Minister accused the opposition of horse-trading and dared it to move a no-confidence motion. "We have full majority. If opposition has any doubt over our majority, it should give no confidence motion and we are ready to prove our majority on the floor,” he said.
"The top brass of BJP and RSS were seen here and also in the House. I thought they were here to pacify the BJP MLAs who were agitated after one of their MLAs broke a leg of a horse, but now, I doubt that they might be involved in some horse-trading," Rawat said.