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SC verdict hits BJP’s plan to stake claim

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) plan to form a government in Uttarakhand was put paid to as the Supreme Court took an undertaking from the Centre that President’s Rule will remain in place till April 27, the next hearing.

With the Supreme Court staying the Nainital high court’s judgment, it would be difficult for the BJP to go ahead with its ambitious plan to stake claim to form the government in the hill state. However, sources say the saffron party is ready to try its luck in the state, after its success in Arunachal Pradesh.

According to sources, senior party leaders are confident that the BJP can prove its majority even without the support of nine rebel Congress MLAs. Sources said the party claims to enjoy the support of three independent MLAs. They added that the BJP might project Satpal Maharaj, a Congress turncoat, as its chief ministerial candidate.

Before the rebellion by nine MLAs, the Congress had 36 lawmakers in the 70-seat Assembly — the 71st member is nominated — and enjoyed the support of six MLAs from the Progressive Democratic Front. The BJP has 28 MLAs.

Soon after the HC verdict, Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP’s general secretary and party in-charge of Uttarakhand, had said: “Given the observations that have been coming for the past three days from the court, there is nothing surprising about this verdict. We cannot understand how can the CM, whose sting video the entire country saw, not be pulled up. We have maintained that the Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand is minority and we will prove that on April 29.”
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