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Uttarakhand crisis: Cong chief whip defends Speaker’s decision to disqualify rebel legislators

The Congress chief whip in Uttarakhand Assembly told the High Court that nine rebel Congress legislators and 26 BJP MLAs “together projected them as an alternative majority” by seeking the dismissal of Harish Rawat government in ‘one voice’, warranting disqualification.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | Nainital |
Updated: April 26, 2016 4:55:49 pm
Uttarakhand crisis, Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, Uttarakhand CM, Rawat, Rawat government, Harish Rawat government, Congress, BJP, Congress chief whip, Uttarakhand government, President's rule in Uttarakhand, india news Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. PTI

The Congress chief whip in Uttarakhand Assembly told the High Court that nine rebel Congress legislators and 26 BJP MLAs “together projected them as an alternative majority” by seeking the dismissal of Harish Rawat government in ‘one voice’, warranting disqualification.

Defending the speaker’s decision to disqualify the nine rebel legislators, the Congress chief whip Indira Hridayesh told Justice U C Dhyani that nine rebel MLAs under the “letter head” of BJP leader of opposition Ajay Bhatt, on March 18, presented a memorandum to the governor seeking dismissal of the Congress government and “projecting” themselves as an “alternative”.

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“The letter does not seek a right to vote…it seeks a dismissal of the Congress government on the ground that it (government) is in minority and is functioning unconstitutionally…by seeking the dismissal of the Congress government, under the letter head of BJP leader of opposition, the nine Congress rebels and 26 BJP in one voice were projecting themselves as an alternative government,” senior advocate Amit Sibal, counsel for the Congress whip argued.

“This is an untenable argument. You (rebel MLAs) are writing under the BJP letter head seeking dismissal of Congress government. Are we to believe that the 35 legislators wanted a Congress government with another chief minister. It cannot be the stand of BJP that they support a Congress government with another CM,” the counsel for chief whip argued.

The chief whip also said that by opposing the appropriation bill, which is a money bill, the rebel legislators were “hitting at the core of party’s membership”. “Right to criticise government doesn’t mean the right to bring down its own government…This is contrary to the anti-defection law. Crossing the floor of the house is sufficient for disqualification,” the chief whip argued.

“The political party functions on the basis of shared beliefs. It’s political stability and social utility depends upon the concerted actions of its members, who allow furtherance of commonly held principles of party…and by opposing the money bill, they are hitting at the core of the party’s membership,” the counsel added.

The chief whip vehemently argued that the rebel Congress MLAs have not submitted “a fragment of evidence showing criticism of chief minister”, while seeking his removal. “There is no criticism regarding any nepotism, corruption or abuse of power. No fragment of evidence showing criticism of the CM. Not even a single submission is made about what is the criticism…even before the speaker (during disqualification proceedings) they have not criticiaed the Chief Minister,” Senior advocate Amit Sibal argued.

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