New Delhi, May 18: The nine rebel Congress MLAs in Uttarakhand led by former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who were disqualified from the state assembly under the anti-defection law, today joined the BJP "unconditionally" and sought dissolution of the assembly and holding fresh polls.
The much-anticipated move came after Bahuguna along with eight other MLAs met the senior BJP leadership. "All the nine rebel Congress MLAs who had raised the banner of revolt against Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand have today joined the BJP unconditionally," Uttarakhand BJP President Ajay Bhatt said.
He said another dissident Congress MLA Rekha Arya, who had voted against Rawat during the floor test, was also to join the BJP today but could not as she was away in Ujjain to participate in the Mahakumbh. Making it clear that their entry into the BJP was not for any personal gain but in the state's interest, Bahuguna said they will continue to fight for protecting the interests of the state.
"We demand that the state assembly be dissolved and fresh elections ordered immediately as the Harish Rawat government has lost the right to be in power and also lost the confidence of public," he said.
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bahuguna said, "He is a pragmatic leader and has unflinching commitment towards good governance and development. We have confidence in his leadership and are impressed by his working and policies of last two years.
"We have met BJP President Amit Shah and thanked him for allowing us to join the struggle in ousting the corrupt Congress government and ending the political pollution in Uttarakhand."
Among those came to the BJP fold included former minister in the Rawat government Harak Singh Rawat, who rejoined the party after a gap of 20 years.
Besides Bahuguna and Rawat, those who joined BJP are: Amruta Rawat, Shailendra Mohan, Kunwar Pranav Singh, Subodh Uniyal, Pradeep Batra, Shaila Rani Rawat and Umesh Sharma.