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Congress may seek early poll in Uttarakhand

New Delhi,SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:The Congress, quietly exultant after apparently winning the floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly, is now considering whether it should call for an early election in the State. The party had challenged the imposition of President’s rule in the State without allowing for a floor test, as mandated in the Bommai judgment.

BJP MLAs after the Uttarakhand Assembly floor test in Dehradun on Tuesday

Elections are due in the State early next year.

A senior leader told The Hindu that after Harish Rawat was sworn in again as Chief Minister, the party would take a call.

“After what the BJP did to topple our government, it is best not to take chances,” he said. Another leader said: “We’ll first gauge the extent of sympathy for Mr. Rawat before taking a decision.”

Earlier in the day, the Congress blocked the passage of the Uttarakhand Budget in the Rajya Sabha, but party leaders said this was done “on principle”. The Congress contention is that the Assembly had already passed it. However, after the floor test, sources told The Hindu that neither side was likely to press the issue.

Gloom in BJP camp as calculations go wrong

After the apparent failure to defeat Harish Rawat in the floor test on Tuesday, a pall of despondency descended over the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters here, even as party leaders tried to strike a defiant note.

If senior BJP leaders avoided any public comment here, party in charge for the State Kailash Vijayvargiya said in Dehradun, “Today, the BJP has added one MLA from the Congress [Rekha Arya who crossed over], therefore we can say we have gained.” Now, Mr. Vijayvargiya may have to take out his political calculator and explain the debacle to the high command.

“We ended up handing back Harish Rawat the chief minister’s chair and the ‘bechara tag’ for the next elections,” said a senior leader who was part of the team.

A top BJP source admitted: “We felt that since nine MLAs had turned rebel, and a money bill was being debated in the Assembly, we could make a credible case of the government having lost its mandate.”