Dehradun/New Delhi: Facing a political crisis, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Saturday got a breather with Governor Krishna Kant Paul asking him to prove his majority on the floor of the state Assembly by March 28.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. Pic/AFP
The Governor's directive came even as BJP, claiming a strength of 35 with support of nine rebel Congress MLAs in the 70-member Assembly, stepped up efforts to form its government, contending that the Rawat ministry has been reduced to a minority. On his part, Rawat asserted that he was ready to prove his majority in the Assembly.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the Governor asked him to prove his majority in the state Assembly by March 28, a top Raj Bhawan official said. It was dispatched to the CM shortly before his appointment with the Governor this evening. Rawat, who has been under pressure from the BJP, now has time till March 28 to get back the dissident MLAs. While BJP claims the support of 35 MLAs including nine rebel Congress legislators, Rawat says he still enjoys a majority in the 70-member House as none of the so-called rebel MLAs has quit the party or the CLP. He also said that five of the rebels were in touch with him.
On a day of claims and counter-claims by BJP and the Congress, Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal said the "anti-defection law is in place and whoever is found guilty of violating it will have to be acted against". "All Congress MLAs voted with the government when the previous bill was passed in the Assembly and nobody had challenged the bill. Even the BJP accepts the voice vote," he said.
Asked about BJP's no-confidence notice against him, Kunjwal said,"We will see when it comes in the Assembly. Members of the legislative Assembly will discuss and decide if the no-confidence notice is valid or not".
Hitting back at the BJP, Congress accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of seeking to destabilise non-BJP governments through lure of money and political power. "The duo of Modi and Shah are infamous for forcible eviction of elected governments in this country. Elected government are being destabilised by a sinister conspiracy. After Arunachal Pradesh, it is Uttarakhand," Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi.
In Dehradun, BJP intensified efforts to dislodge the Rawat government, claiming it has majority in Uttarakhand Assembly and should be invited to form the government as the incumbent Congress dispensation has been reduced to a minority. "The Harish Rawat government has lost majority. Today BJP has the numbers with the support of rebel Congress MLAs to form a new government in Uttarakhand," Shyam Jaju, the state in-charge of BJP, told