Dehra Dun: Congress MLA Govind Singh Kunjwal, a close confidant of Union Minister Harish Rawat, and BJP MLA Harbans Kapoor on Sunday filed their nominations for the post of Speaker of the Uttarakhand Assembly, setting the stage for the first trial of strength of the Congress government in the state on Monday.
It will be the first time that elections for the post of Speaker will be held tomorrow in the 12 year-old hill state.
However, Kunjwal is likely to become the Speaker as Congress has already mustered the support of 39 MLAs in the house of 70 where BJP`s strength is only 31.
Congress is banking on the support of seven non-BJP MLAs, including three independents, who had already given their letter of support to Governor Margaret Alva.
During the filing of nominations before the principal secretary vidhan sabha DP Gairola, Kunjwal was accompanied by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and all the Congress MLAs besides Rawat, who made his first appearance in the hill state ever since he lost race for the chief minister to Bahuguna.
Earlier, except SS Negi, 10 remaining Congress MLAs were administered oath by protem Speaker Shailendra Mohan Singhal in his chamber giving much-needed relief to the Bahuguna government ahead of the tomorrow`s election of the Speaker.
Later, talking to reporters, Bahuguna said there are no fissures in Uttarakhand Congress and all MLAs are united.
He also expressed confidence that Congress MLA Kunjwal would comfortably win the election to become the Speaker of the house.
"Our (Congress) candidate would comfortably win the elections tomorrow as we have the support of a total of 39 MLAs in the 70 member house," Bahuguna said.
Rawat also expressed similar views and said the government would complete its five year term.
However, BJP leaders remained sceptical about tomorrow`s outcome after filing the nomination papers of Kapoor, a former Assembly speaker.
"This government is not running due to internal crisis in Congress," said BJP leader and former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, who was accompanied by another former chief minister BC Khanduri.