Cong moves HC, parades 34 MLAs before Governor
Rawat’s petition came up before the single bench at Nainital of Justice UC Dhyani, who after hearing both sides, said the matter would be taken up again on Tuesday.
Appearing for Rawat, senior Supreme Court counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi contended that the circumstances were not suitable for invoking Art 356 of the constitution under which the government was sacked and the Assembly kept under suspended animation.
Rawat was ousted from the office on Sunday less than 24 hours before he was to prove his majority on the floor of the Uttarakhand assembly on Monday. In a show that he still commanded majority in the House, Rawat led a delegation of 34 MLAs to the Raj Bhawan and paraded them before the Governor. These included six independents who have come together under the banner of Progressive Democratic Front and BJP dissident MLA Bhim Lal Arya from Ghansali.
After meeting the Governor, Rawat claimed that with their (nine rebel Congress MLAs) disqualification, the total strength of the 70-member House had been reduced and so, with his 27 remaining Congress legislators and the support of six MLAs from the Progressive Democratic Front and one BJP dissident, he had a majority. The nine rebel MLAs were disqualified by Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal minutes before President’s rule came into force.
Meanwhile, 27 BJP legislators too have returned to the state Capital and “celebrated holi” on the fall of the “corrupt” Congress government.
The BJP state unit, however, was not very clear whether it would stake claim to form a government or push for early elections in the state. The term of the present assembly was getting over in March next year. Defending the Centre’s move Finance Minister Arun Jaitley wrote in a blog on Monday that “Article 356 of the Constitution can be invoked only if the President is satisfied that there are grounds for believing that the governance of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution.”
The Centre has taken the line since the Appropriation Bill was not passed, the Uttarakhand government did not have a Budget to run its affairs.