Win or lose the 29 April floor test in Uttarakhand, the Congress party is sure that it has already won the perception game. Sources within the party said that the BJP has lost face in the entire episode involving the imposition of President's Rule in the state.
The party is looking forward to the floor test with some anticipation. A victory will give the Congress party a high moral ground vis-à-vis the BJP. And, it’ll be advantage Congress in the Uttarakhand Assembly polls due early next year.
Despite the Supreme Court’s recent stay on the 21 April Uttarakhand High Court decision – quashing the imposition of President’s Rule in the state of Uttarakhand, the Congress party is confident of winning the trust vote on 29 April. However, ahead of the number test, it wants to keep it's fingers crossed.
For the Congress, the SC stay is just a hiatus for the party in the ongoing crisis.
“The SC stay is not a final judgment. Let’s wait till 27 April. We’re confident of our victory and of the principles of justiciability of Article 356. The President’s Rule will be quashed based on the doctrine of the landmark SR Bommai case,” said Randeep Surjewala, Congress chief spokesperson.
“In the process, the dishonesty of the Modi government and its conspiracy to dislodge an elected government will also get exposed and justice will be upheld,” Surjewala said.
Immediately after the Uttarakhand High Court quashed President’s Rule, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya had said in a press conference that the BJP would win the floor test on 29 April, and thereby it would be proved once and for all that the Harish Rawat government was in minority.
“BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya symbolizes the BJP’s true mindset — politics of muscle and money power to topple an elected government. They blatantly exhibit arrogance of disrespecting people’s mandate. But, they will be defeated,” added Surjewala.
While, the Uttarakhand legislators are now busy in fine tuning its strategy to combat the numbers game on 29 April, sources within the party say that the Congress is ahead in the perception battle.
“In the ongoing crisis, the Congress has gained public sympathy and it is now clear that the BJP has been trying to topple the present government by hook or crook,” a source from Uttarakhand said.
However, Chief Minister Harish Rawat may not be worried about the outcome of the SC’s decision on 27 April or the outcome of the floor test due to a strategy of his own.
According to sources, Rawat wants to leverage this element of public sympathy to his advantage during the forthcoming Uttarakhand Assembly elections.
“The Centre may have got a breather with the stay of the High Court decision but it will not be easy to pass the judicial scrutiny when the matter will be taken up for consideration based on merits. The floor test on 29 April won’t go in BJP’s favour. Even if the nine rebel legislators are allowed to vote, the Congress will issue whip against them for disqualification," a Congress leader from Uttarakhand said on conditions of anonymity.
"We’re confident of making it through. Gradually, the people of the state are beginning to understand the conspiracy of the BJP and there’s a lot of public sympathy for us,” the Congress leader said.