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Congress set to form government in Uttarakhand

HARISH RAWAT_l

Dehradun : : The Congress, supported by a regional party and three independent lawmakers, is all set to form the new government in Uttarakhand, ending days of uncertainty after the assembly polls threw up a hung verdict.

Congress state chief Yashpal Arya met Governor Margaret Alva Friday afternoon and presented to her letters of support from all the three independent members and the lone lawmaker from the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal-Panwar (UKD-P), Pritam Singh Panwar.

Governor Alva said she has received the written support from independent members.

“(Congress state) president and (the independent) lawmakers are here. They have also given letters. I have received the support of 36 members which is the number required for the formation of government,” Alva told reporters.

She said they would elect their leader after which “I will invite them to form the government”.

Congress leader Arya said the decision regarding the leader of the Congress Legislative Party would be taken by the party national leadership in New Delhi.

Uncertainty had engulfed government formation in the state following the election results Tuesday, with no party crossing the halfway mark of 35 members in the state assembly.

The Congress emerged as the single largest party with 32 members followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 31. The BJP, which ruled the state during the last five years, had also maintained that it would try to retain power.

But with four more legislators backing it, the Congress has 36 members supporting it in the 70-member assembly.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) got three seats but has so far kept its cards close to its chest on whether or not to support the Congress.

However, the BSP said it was in talks with both the Congress and the BJP before taking a final decision on extending support to either of the two.

“We are in contact with both BJP as well as Congress,” said BSP leader Surajmal, known only by his first name.

Surajmal said party chief Mayawati would decide the issue of being part of the new government or remaining in the opposition. “Whatever direction comes from Mayawatiji, we will follow.”

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