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Uttarakhand: We are presuming it is a House of 61, says BJP

The Uttarakhand High Court judgment on the disqualification of the nine Congress rebels will be pronounced on Monday, but Bhatt says they are preparing for the floor test without counting the rebel votes.

Written by Devyani Onial | Dehradun |
May 8, 2016 2:49:23 am
ajay-bhatt-759 Uttarakhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt. (Source: YouTube screen grab)

It’s been a busy day at the BJP headquarters in Balbir Road, Dehradun. State BJP president Ajay Bhatt has been meeting party legislators and workers over endless cups of tea and Patanjali biscuits and his many phones haven’t stopped ringing through the day. BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya who was in town on Friday has left, national spokesperson Anil Baluni is leaving and more national leaders are expected to be heading this way.

The Uttarakhand High Court judgment on the disqualification of the nine Congress rebels will be pronounced on Monday, but Bhatt says they are preparing for the floor test without counting the rebel votes. “We are making our preparations presuming that it is a House of 61,” he says.

The BJP’s strength in the House is 28, including Bhim Lal Arya who was suspended for anti-party activities. Arya hasn’t been attending party meetings and Bhatt says he is in the “kabza” of deposed CM Harish Rawat and Congress. “They are taking him everywhere, they took him to Corbett National Park. They always have two people guarding him,” says Bhatt. “If Arya doesn’t adhere to the party line, his membership will be revoked.”

BJP spokesperson Munna Singh Chauhan, meanwhile, says there are a number of options available to them. “Bhim Lal Arya has not officially been attending party meetings but he has been talking to people on a private level. Let’s see what happens; after all, politics is a game of possibilities,” said Chauhan.

The party is said to be in touch with some Congressmen and members of the Progressive National Front, but Bhatt says he has not met or approached anyone. “We have asked legislators to hear the voice of their antar atma. Earlier nine people came out, now more will,” says Bhatt.

“There is a kind of resentment within the Congress and its alliance. The nine (Congress rebels) came out but there are others who have been simmering silently,” said Chauhan. There are many in the Congress who feel the party has no future, says Chauhan, hinting at more rebellion in the party ranks.

Come May 10, the BJP is hoping their bugle call will be heeded by the state’s legislators — Bhatt calls it the voice of the antar atma, Chauhan the voice of conscience and the Congress the voice of money power. “The Congress has a history of division — Cong (I), (T), (S) — and it looks to me that it is heading for a further division in Uttarakhand,” says Chauhan.

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