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Home > News > PTI

Uttarakhand: Suspense over independent MLAs

March 02, 2007 16:07 IST

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Coverage: The 3-state assembly poll

A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party staked claim to form the new government in Uttarakhand, suspense mounted over the party's bid to cobble up majority in the assembly amid reports that all the three independent MLAs were non-committal on their support to the saffron party.

Significantly, the three independents -- Rajendra Singh Bhandari, Yashpal Benam and Gagan Singh Rajwar-- were incommunicado following clashes between BJP and Congress workers Thursday night with both parties claiming that they were in touch with them.

While staking claim to form new government before Governor Sudarshan Agarwal, BJP had claimed that two of the independents -- Benam and Rajwar -- have extended their support to it. The party was hoping that an invitation from the governor to form the government would act as a bait to attract the independents. The party, which won 34 seats in the polls, fell shot of majority by just one seat in the 70 member assembly with an effective strengh of 69. Meanwhile, Congress too was wooing the Independents, who fought elections as its rebels. "We can take all these independents back into the party in case they desire to do so," PCC Chief Harish Rawat told reporters here.

Clashes broke out Thursday night between BJP and Congress workers at a hotel in Dehradun after leaders of both the parties tried to woo Independents -- Bhandari and Benam. The situation came under control after police intervened. Nearly half a dozen persons sustained injuries in the clashes.

The BJP was not too keen to take the support of Uttarakhand Kranti Dal which Thursday offered conditional support to it. "All those issues which UKD wants us to implement are beyond our limits," a top BJP leader said.

UKD on the other hand remained adamant over its contentious demand of making Gairsain in Chamoli district the permanent capital of the state.

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