Updated: May 10, 2016 10:19:03 am
The Dehradun administration imposed prohibitory orders in the city Monday evening and deployed policemen on the road leading to the Vidhan Sabha as the Congress and BJP braced for the floor test Tuesday amid indications that the BSP’s two MLAs would lend support to ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat.
BSP’s Haridas and Sarwat Karim Ansari have said they are no longer part of the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) — it also has an MLA from the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) and three Independents — but they still support the Congress. The final decision, they said, rests with BSP chief Mayawati.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were invoked in Dehradun from 5 pm ahead of the floor test to be held under strict guidelines of the Supreme Court. It will decide whether or not Harish Rawat enjoys the confidence of the House.
The specially convened two-hour session will be held in the assembly between 10 am and 1 pm, for which President’s rule will be kept in abeyance. Proceedings will be videographed and the result put in a sealed cover and placed before the Supreme Court on May 11.
The run-up to the big day saw state leaders in a last-minute huddle with national leaders of both parties holding meetings the whole day.
Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni, party in-charge of Uttarakhand, and BJP’s national secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, national spokesperson Anil Baluni, national vice president Shyam Jaju and Tarun Vijay were all in Dehradun ahead of the crucial vote.
The day began on a good note for the Congress with the Uttarakhand High Court dismissing the plea of the nine disqualified rebel party MLAs. In the afternoon, the Supreme Court upheld the decision, maintaining that the nine will not be allowed to vote in the floor test Tuesday. The mood in the Congress camp turned celebratory with party workers streaming to Rawat’s residence, raising slogans in his favour.
“I thank the Supreme Court for the verdict. Uttarakhand has witnessed a lot of uncertainty in these recent weeks. If we win, we will continue our work to develop the state,” said Rawat whose government was dismissed by the Centre on March 27, just a day before he was to seek a vote of confidence in the state assembly.
Uttarakhand Congress president Kishore Upadhyay said it was also time for the BJP to “learn a lesson”.
“The BJP should learn from this that they can’t topple governments wherever they want. As for the rebel MLAs, they have got the result of what they did,” he said.
With the nine Congress MLAs disqualified — the strength of the 70-member House has been reduced to 61 (this excludes a nominated member) — the party seems confident of the trust vote. The Congress now has 27 MLAs and the BJP 28, including rebel MLA Bhim Lal Arya. The Congress is counting on the support it had from the six members of the PDF.
The BJP, meanwhile, is hoping that purported sting operations — one that featured Rawat and another Congress MLA Madan Singh Bisht — will hit the Congress before the floor. Their party leaders also claim that more disgruntled Congressmen will vote against Rawat tomorrow. “I have said it before, I will say it again, more people will listen to the voice of their ‘antar atma’ (inner voice) tomorrow,” BJP state president Ajay Bhatt said.
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