Your updated source of information about Dehradun & Uttarakhand.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Congress stakes claim to form government in Uttarakhand
DEHRADUN: Governor Margaret Alva says Congress has the required number and she will invite it for government formation when it elects its leader.
The Congress on Friday said it would form the government in Uttarakhand with the support of three independents and a regional party member, ending days of uncertainty after a hung verdict in the hill state.
Congress chief Yashpal Arya told reporters that he has letters of support from all the three independent members and the lone lawmaker from the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal-Panwar (UKD-P), Pritam Singh Panwar.
Dinesh Dhanai, one of the independents, confirmed his support to the Congress.
Uncertainty had engulfed government formation in the state following the election results Tuesday, with no party crossing the halfway mark of 35 members in the state assembly.
The Congress emerged as the single largest party with 32 members followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 31. The BJP, which ruled the state in the last five years, had also maintained that it would try to retain power.
But with four more legislators backing it, the Congress has 36 members supporting it in the 70-member assembly.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) got three seats but has so far kept its cards close to its chest on whether or not to support the Congress.
However, the BSP said it was in talks with both the Congress and the BJP before taking a final decision on extending support to either of the two.
"We are in contact with both BJP as well as Congress," said BSP leader Surajmal, known only by his first name.
Surajmal said party chief Mayawati would decide the issue of being part of the new government or remaining in the opposition. "Whatever direction comes from Mayawatiji, we will follow."
Congress leader Arya said the decision regarding leader of the Congress Legislative Party would be taken by the party national leadership in New Delhi.
Suspense over the Chief Minister candidate continues in Uttarakhand. After a day-long deliberation, the BJP legislature party in Uttarakhand authorised the party high command to take final call on CM candidate, party leader Rajnath Singh told the media.
But he refused to disclose how the party plans to prove majority on the floor of the House in case they got an invitation to form the Government.
Similarly, the Congress too kept people on the tenterhooks before starting the legislature party meeting on Wednesday evening at the residence of State Congress president Yashpal Arya. The party authorised its high command Sonia Gandhi to take the final call on who should lead the party in the State.
However, with Congress having more MLAs in its kitty than the BJP, the Congress expected an invitation to form the Government. Sonia' statement came after AICC general secretary incharge for the State Chowdhary Birender Singh reportedly presented two independent MLAs — Dinesh Dhanai and Harish Kumar Durgapal before her. The third independent MLA Mantri Prasad Naithani was a Minister in the Narayan Dutt Tewari-led Congress Government and he is expected to support the party.
On the other hand, the BJP high command on Wednesday sent a four-member team of observers, comprising Uttarakhand BJP Assembly election incharge Rajnath Singh, party general
secretary Ananth Kumar, election assistant incharge Dharmendra Pradhan and Uttarakhand BJP incharge Thawar Chand Gehlot, to Dehradun for introspection over the poor show.
During the meeting, party observers discussed the name of former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Speaker Harbans Kapur.
However, majority of party legislatures expressed lack of confidence in both two leaders.
Later they convened a meeting of BJP MLAs at party State head office. Outgoing Chief Minister Maj Gen Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri also attended the meet. Later Gen Khanduri submitted his resignation to Governor Margaret Alva.
Sources further said BJP had made two Chief Ministers from Garhwal division in between 2007-12 so party may appoint leader of legislature party this time from Kumaon division. In this process Almora MLA Ajay Bhatt, who was Health Minister between 2000 and 2002, may be appointed as Leader of Opposition if party fails to get invitation from the Governor to form the Government.
Source said that another prominent leader from Kumaon was impressing upon party legislatures to raise his name in front of party observers. He even claimed proximity to Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (Progressive) MLA Preetam Singh Panwar and claimed that he would prove his majority on floor if the BJP gave him a chance. Party insiders also claimed that a senior leader even offered that if party would project him as Chief Minister candidate then he may procure support of independent and BSP MLAs 'with his own efforts'. However, Central party leaders outrightly rejected his proposal.