Aiming to cash in on differences in Uttarakhand Congress as the state gears up for the assembly polls early next year, the ruling BJP said on Thursday it has inducted an Independent MLA, who was a minister in the Harish Rawat government, and hinted that it is in touch with a few Opposition members who might join the saffron party.
Independent MLA Pritam Panwar, who was the minister in the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat, joined the BJP on Thursday.
“One independent and three Congress MLAs are in touch with the party. If things goe as per the plan, they will soon join the BJP,” said Dilip Rawat, BJP MLA from Lansdowne.
Cabinet minister Dhan Singh Rawat, who was also confident of BJP’s prospects in the state, said, “You will see that in the days to come, more Congress leaders, who have a vision for clean governance and development, will join us.”
According to BJP insiders, the party intends to take advantage of the differences within Congress. Before the run-up to the 2017 assembly polls, 10 rebel Congress MLAs went against then chief minister Harish Rawat and joined BJP.
Moreover, Rawat’s appointment as the head of Congress’s campaign committee for assembly polls in five states has not gone down well with a section of party, especially the leader of opposition, Pritam Singh.
Sources in the Congress say leaders who support Pritam are worried about their future as the new state party president, Ganesh Godiyal, is also from the Rawat camp.
However, in an attempt to placate “stressed leaders”, Godiyal said all the 10 sitting MLAs and those who were with Rawat in 2017 polls “need not worry”.
“We have a policy to repeat all sitting MLAs. Besides, all those leaders who won as MLA in 2012 polls and contested 2017 but lost, will also be considered for the party ticket,” Godiyal told News18.