Dehradun: Congress and PDF MLAs in Uttarakhand were flown in choppers to an undisclosed location in Nainital on Sunday in an apparent bid by the ruling Congress to keep its flock together in the face of turmoil which Chief Minister Harish Rawat described as a virtual "encounter" by BJP.
A combined group of Congress and PDF legislators led by the Chief Minister's Industrial Advisor Ranjit Rawat boarded three private choppers from the city's Sahastradhara helipad giving rise to speculation that it was an attempt by Rawat to prevent the possibility of any more MLAs crossing over to the other side.
Though putting up a brave face, the fear of losing more MLAs before it takes the floor test in the state Assembly on March 28 still grips Congress and shifting its MLAs to the hills of Kumaon may be a step to ward off any such danger, observers here said.
However, Pradesh Congress leaders said not much should be read into the development, terming it as an excursion trip ahead of Holi.
"It should not be linked with politics. It is a weekend and Holi is a just a couple of days away. There are many resorts in Ramnagar and Corbett Tiger Reserve area. The MLAs may have gone there just to unwind," state Congress Chief Spokesman Mathuradutt Joshi told PTI.
"There is no threat to government and no need to resort to such measures. Our flock is intact and will remain so," he said.
Meanwhile, Rawat said what the BJP was trying to do in Uttarakhand was virtually like an "encounter".
"It is a kind of encounter. First they broke the leg of a horse and now they are trying to break the legs of Uttarakhand through horse trading," Rawat told reporters on the sidelines of a programme in the city.