Soon after joining the party, Maharaj, former Union minister, praised BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. (JPN/Agencies)
Maharaj, who is a spiritual leader with considerable following in the region, accused Congress of ignoring the plight of victims of the natural tragedy in the state last year.
The leader, whose wife is a Cabinet Minister in the Congress government in Uttarakhand, said he wanted Narendra Modi to become the Prime Minister as a strong leadership was the need of the hour for the country.
BJP President Rajnath Singh said Maharaj's presence in the party will strengthen it further, adding that it indicated people's faith in Modi's leadership and frustration with the current regime.
Maharaj attacked the Uttarakhand government, accusing it of doing nothing for the victims of floods and said people were leaving the hills for the plains in search of livlihood.
"People are suffering and nothing has been done for them. Hills are in danger as people are relocating to plains for making a living," he said.
He was said to be unhappy with the Congress for picking Harish Rawat as the state's Chief Minister and had recently announced that he would not contest the Lok Sabha election as he was "deeply hurt" by the neglect of his constituency.
The 62-year-old leader has been with Congress all along barring a few years in 90s when he joined the breakaway Congress (Tiwari).
NK Singh may join BJP
NK Singh, a JD(U) MP who has fallen out with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, today quit the party and gave clear clear indications that he may join BJP.
Months after being denied renomination to the Rajya Sabha and instead asked to fight Lok Sabha elections from Banka, the 73-year-old former bureaucrat wrote a letter to Kumar conveying his decision to sever ties with the party.
"I have sent my resignation from the primary membership of JD(U) in a letter to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with reasons for my severing ties with the party," Singh said.
MLAs loyal to Satpal rubbish speculation about quitting Congress
Uttarakhand Congress MLAs loyal to Satpal Mahararj rubbished speculation that they might also quit the party to follow their leader, saying the Pauri Garhwal MP's decision to join BJP was personal and they were still with the party.
"Maharaj's decision is personal. I don't think it is good for him in the long run," party MLA from Shreenagar segment Ganesh Godiyal, who is considered close to Maharaj, said.
Asked if he was among half a dozen MLAs who as per media reports were likely to follow their leader and quit Congress, Godiyal said there was no room for any "ifs and buts when it came to their loyalty to their party."
Replying to a question, he said he was aware of the Pauri Garhwal MP's resentment with the party on a couple of issues but was not expecting a drastic step like this from him.
Deputy Speaker of Uttarakhand Assembly Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri, who is also considered a supporter of Maharaj, said he was hurt over his decision which took him by surprise.
"He was a tall party leader and his quitting the party has led to despair among party workers. I had no idea about his decision. It hurts me to think that he left the party after serving it for such a long time," Maikhuri said.
The ruling Congress has 33 MLAs and has the support of seven-member PDF which consists of three BSP MLAs, three Independents and one UKD member in the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly. Opposition BJP has 30 MLAs in the House.
Soon after joining the party, Maharaj, former Union minister, praised BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.