Congress gets jolt in Uttarakhand , only 21 MLAs take oath

Dehradun : Though there is still a fortnight for chief minister Vijay bahuguna to prove his majority on the floor of House on Mar 29, but the euphoria of the Congress to have mustered a simple majority in Uttarakhand seems to be short-lived. As many as 18 legislators, including the 16 camped at union minister of state Harish Rawat’s residence in Delhi did not turn up to take oath as MLAs.

On Wednesday evening there were reports that the crises plaguing the Congress in Uttarakhand was almost over and the legislators would reach Dehra Dun on Wednesday to take oath. This morning Shailendra Mohan Singhal, who was sworn in as pro-tem Speaker started giving oath to the newly elected members of the House. However, much to the chagrin of the Congress 18 legislators did not turn up.

This has compelled Vijay Bahuguna to leave for Delhi early tomorrow and have an audience with party national president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the uncertainty over his being made the chief minister of Uttarakhand. Clearly more than half of the party legislators are against the decision of the party high command and are staying put in Delhi to press home their point to make Harish Rawat the chief minister of the state.

Even senior party leaders, infact two MLAs who were in the race of chief minister of the state, Indira Hridesh and Harak Singh Rawat were also conspicuous by their absence. This is an indication that it is not only the first timers and close supporters of Harish Rawat who are against Bahuguna’s election as the chief minister but seasoned party leaders are also against him.

Incidentally, Bahuguna has called for a four-day special session of the Uttarakhand House beginning on March 26. The session is all important as not only will the chief minister prove his strength on March 29 but the House also has to pass a vote for account. In the absence of the full strength of the Congress legislators, the proverbial sword of Damocles looms large over Bahuguna’s head.

Meanwhile reports filtering here from Delhi said that the supporters of Harish Rawat did not allow the union minister of state to attend the proceedings of Lok Sabha today. Though Rawat got ready and was to leave for Lok Sabha but the 16 MLAs and others present did not let him do so. However, he maintained that he was in no way conspiring against the Congress party either in Delhi or Dehra Dun.

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