A few weeks back when Vijay Bahuguna led Uttarakhand Congress rebel MLAs to meet the BJP top leadership in Delhi, the latter was stunned by the intensity of the desire for “revenge” nursed by the former chief minister.
Removed on charges of corruption, Bahuguna had been biding his time over being sidelined by his successor Harish Rawat. He ended up providing just the opening the BJP was looking for to strike at the Rawat government with its wafer-thin majority.
Sources say talks between Bahuguna and the BJP had been on for a while. The original plan was to topple the government last November. At that time, 11 Congress leaders were ready to walk out of the party with Bahuguna. However, three developed cold feet at the last moment.
On March 18, the nine remaining rebel MLAs made their loyalties known by seeking a division on the finance Bill in the Assembly along with the BJP, and later accompanying the party to meet the Governor.
Sources attribute the anger of Bahuguna and the other powerful rebel MLA, Harak Singh Rawat, to the high-handedness of CM Rawat. At one stage, the BJP made it clear to Bahuguna that he may not even get a ticket for helping topple the government. Sources say Bahuguna agreed to that too, telling them it was impossible for him to even get an appointment with CM Rawat.