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U'khand: Cong faces major trial in Assembly today

News18

Updated: March 26, 2012, 3:58 AM IST
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U'khand: Cong faces major trial in Assembly today
Congress MLA Govind Singh Kunjwal and BJP MLA Harbans Kapoor on Sunday morning filed their nominations for the post of Speaker in the Assembly.

Dehra Dun: With BJP fielding its nominee for the Uttarkhand Speaker's election, the stage was today set for the Congress government to face its first trial of strength in the Assembly on Monday.

Congress MLA Govind Singh Kunjwal, a close confidant of Union Minister Harish Rawat, and BJP MLA Harbans Kapoor on Sunday morning filed their nominations for the post of Speaker in the Assembly.

It will be the first time that elections for the post of Speaker will be held on Monday in the 12-year-old hill state. The Congress has already claimed the support of 39 MLAs in the house of 70 where the BJP has a strength of only 31.

The Congress is banking on the backing of seven non-BJP MLAs, including three independents, who had already given their letter of support to Governor Margaret Alva.

The Congress has attempted to woo the MLAs of the faction led by Rawat by putting a candidate from his camp. During the filing of nominations before Principal Secretary in the Assembly DP Gairola, Kunjwal was accompanied by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and all Congress MLAs besides Rawat, who made his first appearance in the state ever since he lost the race for chief ministership to Bahuguna.

Earlier, except S S Negi, 10 remaining Congress MLAs were administered oath by protem Speaker Shailendra Mohan Singhal in his chamber giving much-needed relief to the Bahuguna government ahead of the election of the Speaker.

Talking to reporters, Bahuguna later said there are no fissures in Uttarakhand Congress and all MLAs are united. He also expressed confidence that Kunjwal would comfortably win the election to become the Speaker.

"Our (Congress) candidate would comfortably win the elections tomorrow as we have the support of a total of 39 MLAs in the 70 member house," Bahuguna said.

Rawat also expressed similar views and said the government would complete its five year term.

Rawat, however, called for review of the Congress's performance in the recent assembly elections in Uttarakhand where it fell short of majority and said the chief minister should take remaining steps to fulfill the aspirations of his supporters.

"There were lots of apprehensions. The chief minister has taken some steps to fulfill the aspiration of our supporters and some more steps have to be taken," HE told reporters when asked whether he has resolved all issues within the party.

Referring to his stand on creation of two posts of deputy chief ministers, Rawat said he still stands by it the election results were "unexpected".

But, he said, the decision regarding the posts of deputy CM has to be taken by the party high command and not by the chief minister.

However, BJP leaders remained sceptical about the outcome after filing the nomination papers of Kapoor, a former Assembly speaker.

"This government is not running due to internal crisis in Congress," said BJP leader and former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, who was accompanied by another former chief minister BC Khanduri.

First Published: March 26, 2012, 3:58 AM IST
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