The battle over Uttarakhand on Monday reached the President’s door with BJP demanding dismissal of the Harish Rawat government while Congress accused the Centre of destabilising it even as two party rebels were expelled.
A week to go for the trial of strength, Congress expelled former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saket and joint secretary Anil Gupta for “anti-party” activities as beleaguered Chief Minister Harish Rawat accused the Centre and BJP of using “money and muscle power” to destabilise his government.
The action against Saket, whose father rebelled and voted against the government in the assembly on Friday, and Gupta came after they were accused of siding with the nine MLAs who revolted against the Rawat government.
The scene shifted to the national capital today when all BJP MPs and MLAs from the state marched to Rashtrapati Bhawan after which a delegation, including party leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Shyam Jaju, met the President and demanded dismissal of the Harish Rawat government, claiming Congress has lost majority in the Assembly.
The party, which initially planned to take the rebel Congress MLAs along with their legislators in a show of numbers, dropped the plan after getting signals that it would not be appropriate.
“This government is in a minority. It has no right to stay in power even for a minute,” Vijayvargiya said, adding they sought the President’s intervention and dismissal of the government.
He termed the Speaker’s decision to declare the Finance Bill, on which BJP and rebel Congress MLAs had sought a division of votes, passed as “unconstitutional”.
“We have urged the President to go through the video-recorded proceedings of the House as it is clear that a majority of MLAs were against the budget. The government had fallen on that very day,” he said.
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 21, 2016
Shortly afterwards, a delegation of senior Congress leaders led by A K Antony met the President and urged him to ensure upholding of the rule of law in the state where it alleged the government was being “destabilised” through “unconstitutional means” by the Centre and BJP.
“Any attempt by the union government at the behest of BJP to impose President’s Rule would be ex facie illegal. Resort to Article 356 of the Constitution…would be a mockery,” the Congress delegation told the President.
The delegation included Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni and Motilal Vora.
They said such a move would also allow the ruling dispensation at the Centre and BJP “in tandem to manufacture a majority through horse-trading”.
Addressing a press conference in Dehradun, Harish Rawat accused the BJP-led central government of “killing democracy” by using its brute majority to cause “political instability” in a small state.
This, he said, was not good for the state as it may see a new Chief Minister every year and the dreams of the hill state will be shattered.
BJP claims that it has the support of 36 MLAs, including the nine rebel Congressmen, in a House of 70.