Testing time for BJP in Haryana, Uttarakhand

Testing time for BJP in Haryana, Uttarakhand

Credit: AFP Photo

The BJP governments in Uttarakhand and Haryana appear to be on tenterhooks amid talk of leadership change in the hill state and due to the prolonged farmers’ agitation respectively.

A flurry of meetings over the weekend in Dehradun fuelled speculation about a possible leadership change in Uttarakhand, while in Haryana the BJP-JJP coalition government faces a no-confidence motion on Tuesday amid rumblings within the coalition over the farmers’ protests against agricultural reforms.

The BJP high command rushed emissaries to Dehradun on Saturday afternoon to hold separate meetings with party MLAs, triggering buzz about the ouster of Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who completes four years in office on March 18. BJP Vice President and former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and BJP in-charge of Uttarakhand Dushyant Kumar Gautam reached Dehradun on Saturday afternoon when all the MLAs were 250 km away in Gairsain, the summer capital of the state, for the Assembly Session.

“The open war for power in Uttarakhand paints a worrisome picture. The BJP had poached some leaders from the Congress, they are now creating trouble for the BJP. The BJP will reap what it has sown,” former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Harish Rawat said.

Nine Congress MLAs had rebelled against Harish Rawat in 2016 and later joined the BJP. Rawat had survived the rebellion but lost the elections in 2017. Congress rebels contested and won the elections as BJP candidates and bagged ministerial berths.

Uttarakhand BJP President Bansidhar Bhagat dismissed talk of leadership change in the state and said that the flurry of meetings was for planning programmes to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the formation of the government. “There is no question of instability. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat will complete five years in office,” Bhagat told DH.

In Haryana, Chief Minister Manohar Lal faces a no-confidence motion which would be moved by the Congress on Tuesday. “Discussion and voting on the no-confidence motion will take place on March 10. It will reveal which MLAs are in favour of the farmers and who are supporting the anti-farmer government,” former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said.

Haryana Assembly has an effective strength of 88 with the BJP as the single-largest party with 40 MLAs and its coalition partner JJP 10 MLAs. Five independent MLAs also support the government. The Congress has 31 MLAs and the support of two independent MLAs. There are two vacant seats in the Assembly.

The farmer's protest against the three farm laws has caused unease among a section of the JJP MLAs, amid pressure from the agitating farmers to vote against the state government.