A DAY after nine Congress MLAs joined hands with the BJP to demand the dismissal of the Uttarakhand government, Governor Krishna Kant Paul on Saturday asked Chief Minister Harish Rawat to prove his majority on the floor of the House by March 28.
Meanwhile, the state cabinet approved a proposal seeking rebel minister Harak Singh Rawat’s expulsion from the cabinet. The chief minister also decided to remove State Advocate General Umakant Uniyal, who is the brother of rebel Congress MLA Subodh Uniyal.
Sources said Assembly Speaker G S Kunjwal has issued notices under the anti-defection law to the nine rebel MLAs — Vijay Bahuguna, Harak Singh Rawat, Amrita Rawat, Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion, Shaila Rani Rawat, Pradip Batra, Subodh Uniyal, Shailendra Mohan Singhal and Umesh Sharma.
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The nine rebel MLAs and BJP MLAs left for Delhi in a chartered plane on Friday night, soon after meeting the Governor. While the BJP MLAs are staying in Delhi, sources said the Congress MLAs are camping at a hotel in Gurgaon.
“We have 35 MLAs with me here (in New Delhi) and we have the support of Ganesh Joshi also. The state government will fall on March 28,” BJP general secretary in charge of Uttarakhand, Kailash Vijayvargiya, told The Sunday Express.
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BJP leaders said the MLAs, especially the Congress rebels, are unlikely to meet party president Amit Shah before the floor test. The Congress has 36 MLAs in the House of 70 members — the 71st member is nominated — and enjoys the support of six MLAs of the Progressive Democratic Front, while the BJP has 28 MLAs.
While BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi could not take part in the House proceedings on Friday as he was arrested by the police in the morning for allegedly attacking a police horse, sources said another BJP MLA, Bhimlal Arya, reached the Assembly in the CM’s car on Friday but skipped voting on the Budget Bill.
The Congress today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of seeking to destabilise non-BJP governments. “The duo of Modi and Shah are infamous for forcible eviction of elected governments in this country. Elected governments are being destabilised by a sinister conspiracy. After Arunachal Pradesh, it is Uttarakhand,” Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala Surjewala said in New Delhi.
State Congress president Kishore Upadhyay accused the BJP of offering Rs 15 crore each to the nine rebel MLAs.
But Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad countered: “If the Congress cannot take care of its own government, it’s not our responsibility.”
With ENS, New Delhi & PTI