Bouquets, sweets, selfies and cake — the deposed Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat was in a celebratory mood on his birthday Wednesday till the Supreme Court order came declaring that President’s Rule in the state will continue and there will be no floor test on April 29.
Speaking to The Indian Express minutes after the apex court order, Rawat said he was “saddened”. The delay, he added, was helping the BJP, which he claimed was still trying to lure Congress MLAs. He said nearly three-fourth of the Congress MLAs had informed him that the BJP had approached them offering “anything”.
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“It has saddened me a bit. We were ready on March 28 to prove our majority, we were ready for March 30 and we were ready for April 29 as well… So is it a setback? The delay will help the BJP. The BJP may intensify its efforts for poaching from our camp. They are luring our MLAs with huge amounts.”
While BJP state president Ajay Bhatt denied the charges, he added that the BJP hoped that some more Congress MLAs, just like the nine who had already parted ways, would “listen to their conscience and come with his party to save Uttarakhand from Congress misrule”.
The news of the Supreme Court order came while Rawat was busy meeting workers on his 68th birthday. His day had begun with a visit to the Tapkeshwar Shiva temple. With a steady stream of visitors showing up to meet him at his Bijapur residence, Rawat said: “It is for the first time that I am enjoying my birthday with the people… I never celebrate my birthday. Today, out of sympathy or whatever you may call it, there are a lot of visitors.”
Asked whether he was hopeful of a favourable verdict from the apex court, he said: “I would not like to comment as the matter is still being heard… It will not be proper for me to comment… I know and I am confident that justice will be done in our favour.” he said.