Dehradun: Amid rumours that his government was facing the crisis of being reduced to a minority with Congress MLAs loyal to Satpal Maharaj likely to follow their leader and quit the party, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Saturday said all his MLAs were with him.
"There is no crisis. The entire legislature party and all legislators who were with us from the beginning are still with us," Rawat told reporters when asked whether the Pauri Garhwal MP`s resignation from Congress would cast its shadow on the fate of his government.
Soon after Maharaj quit Congress and joined the BJP yesterday, speculation became rife in the city that MLAs in Uttarakhand Assembly loyal to him might follow suit reducing the fledgling Harish Rawat government sworn in only last month to a minority.
However, top PCC leaders including its president Yashpal Arya and vice president Suryakant Dhasmana denied any such possibility rubbishing all such speculation as rumour.
"The government is perfectly stable. There is no threat to it. All our MLAs are with the Chief Minister and with the Congress," PCC chief Yashpal Arya said.
Echoing Arya, PCC vice president Dhasmana also firmly refuted media reports.
"All our MLAs are intact. I have talked to all MLAs representing different segments of the Pauri Lok Sabha seat. All of them have asserted they are with the Congress. There is no possibility of their crossing over to any other side," Pradesh Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana told.
"There is no threat to the present government in the state which enjoys a comfortable majority," he said.
When asked whether Maharaj`s switch-over to BJP would not harm the party`s poll prospects, Dhasmana admitted it was a "temporary setback" but in the same breath said it would have no effect on the party`s electoral fortunes.
On BJP`s demand for Chief Minister Harish Rawat`s resignation, he said it was totally uncalled for as the CM enjoys the confidence and support of majority of the members.
Senior state BJP leader Prakash Pant had yesterday demanded Rawat`s resignation saying his government had been reduced to a minority with Maharaj`s loyal MLAs all set to cross over to the BJP.
Criticising Satpal Maharaj for "striking a deal" with the BJP, he said what he had done was the worst example of "opportunist politics".
"Maharaj has backstabbed the party which gave him ticket for the Lok Sabha seven times in 1989,?1991, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2009 and to his wife Amrita Rawat to contest the assembly polls thrice.
"He should not have ditched the party in this manner," he said.
The Pauri Garhwal MP`s resignation from Congress yesterday sparked speculation that about half a dozen party MLAs bearing allegiance to him might follow suit, reducing the Harish Rawat government which was sworn in only last month to a minority.
However, some of the MLAs considered loyal to him including state Assembly deputy Speaker Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri, Ganesh Godiyal and Rajendra Bhandari denied the possibility of their switch-over to any other party terming Maharaj`s decision to quit the party as personal.
On the other hand, Maharaj`s resignation from the Congress to join the BJP is being seen as a major shot in the arm for the saffron party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Uttarakhand.
"With Satpal Maharaj`s followers (political as well as religious) spread over many states, his joining the BJP will definitely boost the chances of the party in Lok Sabha polls not only in Uttarakhand but also in other states," a senior BJP leader here said.