BJP to attack govt on Mandal issue in U`khand Assembly

The BJP will raise the issue of Kiran Mandal resigning from his seat apparently to pave way for chief minister Vijay Bahuguna to become an MLA.

Dehra Dun: The BJP will raise in the budget session of Uttarakhand assembly beginning here on Monday the issue of its Sitarganj MLA, Kiran Mandal, resigning from his seat apparently to pave way for chief minister Vijay Bahuguna to become an MLA.

"We will raise in a big way the issue of desertion of our MLA (Mandal)", said a BJP leader on the eve of the budget session.

Mandal, MLA from Sitarganj constituency in Kumaon region, had gone missing from his Sitarjganj home last forth night raising speculation that he would resign from his seat in favour of Bahuguna, who had already expressed his readiness to contest the assembly election from a BJP constituency.

After remaining underground, Mandal early this week handed over his resignation to vidhan sabha speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal.

Under the deal, the BJP leader alleged, the government has given permanent resident status to all Bengalis residing in Sitarganj constituency among other things.

The move to get the BJP seat vacated has irked the top state BJP leaders, who have accused the ruling Congress of `horse-trading`.

"The Congress is indulging in horse-trading offering big money to our MLAs", alleged state BJP president Bishank Singh Chufal.
Following the resignation, the strength of the BJP has been reduced to 30 against 32 Congress in the House of 69, excluding a nominated member from the Anglo-Indian community.
Bahuguna returned here this week after holding consultations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.

The CM is expected to make an announcement regarding his plan to contest the assembly election shortly, Congress sources said.

Under the legislative provisions, Bahuguna who took the oath as CM on March 13, must become an MLA within six months after being sworn-in.

Earlier in 2007, TPS Rawat as Congress MLA had vacated his Dhumakot seat for the then chief minister BC Khanduri.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Indira Hridayesh would present her maiden budget on May 31.