Gangotri myth to be tested as Cong, BJP vie to form govt in Uttarakhand

Dehradun : Even before this small mountain state was carved out in 2000 and was part of Uttar Pradesh, the party which won the Gangotri assembly segment went on to form the government in the state. This has been true even after Uttarakhand was made. It is now to be seen whether it holds true this time also.

There is a lot of speculation on who will form the government in the state because of the hung mandate given by the masses. With the Congress four short of the magic figure of 36 in a House of 70, and the BJP five short, the role played by the three independents, the UKD (P) which has one seat and the BSP, which has three members will decide on who will form the government.

But going by the so far established norm that the party which wins Gangotri, the place from where the river Ganga takes its birth, forms the government in the state, this time it should be the Congress as it is the party candidate, Vijaypal Sajwan has won from the assembly segment this time.

Too close to call in the Uttarakhand hills

Though it is a matter of time which will prove whether the myth attached with Gangotri is right or not, but senior state Congress leaders of the state met governor Margaret Alva and appraised her of the latest situation. They have in the meanwhile rushed to Delhi to seek guidance on the next course of action.

Being the largest single party, it is apparently understood that the governor will first call upon the leader of the Congress Legislature Party to form the government and give it time to prove its majority on the floor of the House. However, should the BJP can give documentary proof of support of the three BSP MLAs and the three independents, the governor could consider calling the leader of the BJP legislature party to form the government and prove its majority on the floor of the House.

Sources in the BJP told Hill Post that the senior party leaders had met with leaders of the BSP at Hardwar on Tuesday night itself and initial talks over ministerial portfolios had also been discussed. However, the final decision in the matter would be taken by BSP supremo Mayawati and the BJP central leaders after Holi.

The three independents are all Congress rebels and it is to be seen whether they can be wooed back into the party fold. Indications so far have been that at least Mantri Prasad Naithani who won from Devprayag and Harish Chandra who won from Lal Kuan are reluctant to go back as they feel that despite being the winning candidates, they were not given the party ticket at the whims and fantasies of senior state party leaders keen on becoming the chief minister.

As far as the lone MLA of the UKD-P, Preetam Panwar, who won from Yamnotri goes, it is very unlikely that he will support the BJP. The UKD has been blaming the BJP all through for the split in the UKD and thereby dividing it and its president has said in clear terms that the party will not support the BJP.

Under these circumstances, if the Congress can get the support of its three rebels who have won as independents and the lone UKD-P legislator, the party touches the magic figure of 36. On the contrary if the BJP gets the support of the BSP and two of the independents, it also touches 36. It is a touch and go scenario for both the Congress and the BJP.

However, the BJP has another problem. Will it make B C Khanduri, the face they had projected as chief ministerial candidate if the party came to power, the chief minister. If it does, who will then make way for Khanduri to seek a bye-election, is what the party will have to take into consideration.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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