He also asserted that though only the nine rebels have gone public about their support to BJP, "more" Congress MLAs may switch sides in the event of a floor test. BJP is keeping its cards close to chest as the Supreme Court is currently hearing the case on imposition of central rule in the state, while the plea of nine MLAs against their disqualification is pending before the state High Court.

"We got only as many (Congress) MLAs to support us openly as we needed for a simple majority. There could be more support for us. BJP has the support of a majority of MLAs even if these nine MLAs remain disqualified," the leader, who declined to be named, said. In the 71-member assembly, both Congress and BJP have 27 MLAs each, barring the nine Congress rebels and one BJP rebel.

There is also a block of six MLAs, including three independents, who had been supporting the Harish Rawat government when it was dismissed. BJP believes that some of them could be worked on to change sides.

The BJP leader also dismissed the Congress' charge that it was engineering defection in its ranks to topple its state governments as seen in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

"Keeping its flock together is the responsibility of Congress not BJP. If there is a rebellion in our party say in Madhya Pradesh or Gujarat, then it will be our fault not Congress'," he said.

There are also strong sentiments in the BJP against several observations made by the state High Court, which had restored the Rawat government and castigated the Centre over the imposition of President's Rule. Among the court's observations criticised by him were that the rebels have committed a "sin" and that a "pro-development government" was brought down.

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