Dehradun: Accusing BJP of misrepresenting facts, Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Saturday claimed he still enjoys a majority in the Uttarakhand Assembly and was ready to prove it on the floor of the House.
"Those who are saying they have support of 35 MLAs are misrepresenting facts. I am confident that I still have a majority in the Assembly and can prove it on the floor of the House," he told reporters after emerging from a meeting with Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal.
On BJP's claims that it had the support of 35 MLAs including nine rebel Congress MLAs, Rawat said at least five of those MLAs were still in touch with him.
"They have said they are still with the party and continue to be members of the Congress Legislature Party," he said.
Commenting on what transpired at his meeting with the Speaker, the chief minister said he had gone to him to tender an apology as the Leader of the House for the "unparliamentary conduct of some party MLAs", who rushed into the well after adjournment of the day's proceedings and sat on a dharna along with BJP MLAs there.
Admitting that Congress MLAs had flouted the party whip by sitting on a dharna along with opposition members, he said they were liable to be acted against in accordance with the Constitutional provisions.
Rawat also claimed that the so called "disgruntled MLAs" were still in touch with him and continued to be members of the Congress Legislature Party.
The chief minister said he was hurt by the behaviour of rebel party MLAs including Harak Singh Rawat and Vijay Bahuguna.
"As fas as Harak Singh is concerned, the less said the better. He is such a star of Uttarakhand's political firmament. If one or two more such wrestlers are born in the state, Uttarakhand of our dreams will never become a reality," he said.
Rawat said he was shocked by Bahuguna's conduct in the House on Friday as he came from a family which always fought against communal forces.
"Coming as it did from the son of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna who always fought for secular values and stood against communal forces, Bahugunaji's behaviour was no less shocking," the chief minister said.
Rawat said the disgruntled MLAs must be given time to realise their mistake.
"There are differences of opinion in a party. I give them time to realise their mistake," he said.
Rawat also said he had sought an appointment with Governor KK Paul to brief him about the entire political situation in the state.
The chief minister also held meetings with the six-member Progressive Democratic Front, a partner in government at his residence in an apparent bid to keep his flock together.
Coming out of the meeting, Independent legislators Mantri Prasad Naithani and Dinesh Dhanai pledged PDF's support to Rawat government saying what happened in the state assembly after adjournment of proceedings last night should not have happened.
"PDF will stand like a rock behind Harish Rawat come what may," Naithani said.
Naithani, who nearly came to blows with Harak Singh Rawat in the State Assembly on Friday, said it happened when he tried to stop Rawat from rushing into the well of the House to join BJP's protest against rejection of its demand by the Speaker for a division of votes on the budget.
Amid reports that she had written to the State Assembly Speaker demanding action against the nine rebel Congress MLAs under the anti-defection law, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hridayesh hinted at the party's readiness for pardoning them, saying there is always scope for "ghar wapasi".
Later at a press conference, Pradesh Congress President Kishore Upadhyay accused the BJP of murdering democracy by conspiring to topple a democratically elected government.
However, he said the Harish Rawat government still enjoyed absolute majority in the state assembly and that there is no threat to the state government.
He also claimed that six of the disgruntled Congress MLAs were in touch with him but refused to disclose their names, saying it could pose a danger to their life.