Prez rule imposed in strife-ridden U’khand
The move came after the union cabinet recommended dismissal of the Harish Rawat-led state government late on Saturday night. The state assembly has been put under suspended animation.
The President’s proclamation came less than 24-hours before the Harish Rawat government was to face a test of strength on the floor of the House as directed by state Governor Dr KK Paul. Justifying imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday that the Harish Rawat government was ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘immoral’ since March 18 when the ‘failed’ Appropriation Bill was shown as passed. The Appropriation Bill empowers the government to draw funds for expenses from April 1 and if it is defeated on the floor of the House, the government has to resign.
“There can be no better example of implementation of Article 356 (imposition of President’s Rule)...There was complete breakdown of the Constitution in Uttarakhand,” Jaitley told reporters in New Delhi. The notification of Central rule came amidst reports of Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal disqualifying nine rebel Congress MLAs that would have enabled Rawat to sail through in the trust vote in the 71 member House. The dismissal of the Rawat government now renders Monday’s confidence vote redundant.
Countering the charge, the Congress described the move murder of democracy. “It is the murder of democracy in Uttarakhand. It is the murder of Ambedkar’s values and ethics whose 125th birth anniversary we are celebrating,” ousted chief minister Harish Rawat said in Dehradun.
Talking to newspersons at his Bijapur Guest House residence soon after his government’s dismissal, Rawat said, “Under a conspiracy our party MLAs were lured to go against their own government in the assembly on March 18 when the appropriation bill had to be passed. The last three MLAs, who were initially reluctant to switch their loyalty to BJP were finally won over with an offer of Rs 25 crore. The total deal amounted to Rs 1,000 crore.”
Attacking the Narendra Modi-led central government, Rawat said, “The central government curtailed state budget and not a single penny was released for Ardh-Kumbh fair in Haridwar. But we managed the ongoing religious fair in an efficient way. Similarly, no central fund was released for Kedarnath rehabilitation work. But we managed to find our way. BJP became anxious with our success and spread propaganda that the Harish Rawat-led state government was committing scams. They were after my government from day one. ”
According to sources at the Centre, “The Union Cabinet considered several reports received from Governor KK Paul, who had described the political situation as volatile and expressed apprehensions over possible pandemonium during the scheduled trial of strength in the state Assembly on Monday.”