‘Attack on democracy’: Cong, BJP trade blows over Uttarakhand crisis

  • Agencies, New Delhi/Dehradun
  • Updated: Mar 22, 2016 12:40 IST
Rebel Congress MLAs and BJP leaders after meeting Uttarakhand governor KK Paul in Dehradun on Friday. (PTI)

The BJP accused Uttarakhand speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal of working for Congress chief minister Harish Rawat as the political crisis in the hill state led to a fresh round of blame game between the rival parties on Monday.

The BJP asked Kunjwal to step down if he had any self respect, even as the CM said the BJP was “killing” democracy.

In Delhi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi criticised the BJP for an “attack on democracy”, while Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said the BJP should “not be blamed” for the crisis in the Congress-ruled hill state.

The Harish Rawat government landed in a trouble when nine of its rebels MLAs and the opposition BJP, with 28 MLAs, approached governor Krishna Kant Paul and staked claim to form the government.

Read: Uttarakhand crisis: Cong expels ex-CM Bahuguna’s son for rebellion

Elections to the state were last held on January 30, 2012, when the Congress emerged as the largest party with 32 seats in the 70-seat electoral legislature.

Four short of the majority, Congress had to rely on support from one Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P), three independent and three BSP members to form the government. The BJP got 31 seats. The Congress secured 36 seats in assembly to form the majority on its own and the BJP holds the office of opposition with 28 seats after recent by-elections.

CM Rawat said that those ‘murdering democracy’ and attempting to destabilise an elected government in Uttarakhand had no right to level allegations against him.

“The BJP has levelled three fresh allegations against me. One of the allegations is regarding allotment of land for the smart city...First of all the move was in accordance with the Centre’s smart city initiative. The charges levelled by BJP are baseless as many of their MLAs wanted it during initial phase,” he said.

Asserting that he did not believe in ‘mudslinging’, the CM said it was sad that he had to give an explanation for allotment of mining strips done during his predecessor’s tenure.

Governor Krishna Kant Paul asked Rawat on Saturday to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly by 28 March.

Read: Disqualify or not: Rebels put Uttarakhand Cong in catch-22 situation

On Sunday, speaker Kunjwal issued notices on the request of Congress party chief whip and parliamentary affairs minister Indira Hridayesh, who sought action against the MLAs for violating the party whip.

Taking the power tussle further, 35 BJP leaders from the state, along with the nine rebel Congress MLAs, readied to meet President Pranab Mukherjee to ask him to dismiss the state government.

Rebel Congress MLA Harak Singh Rawat also wrote to the governor, urging him to call an assembly session on Tuesday for the floor test.

The state’s BJP unit said that even before the notices were issued, 35 MLAs — 26 from the BJP and nine from the Congress — served a notice for a no-confidence motion against Kunjwal for alleged failure to conduct the House in an impartial manner.

Meanwhile, the Congress cracked the whip and expelled ex-CM Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saket and state organisation secretary Anil Gupta for six years, on charges of anti-party activities.

The Uttarakhand Congress also dissolved all nine district units of the party in the state.

Read: Uttarakhand: Rebel Cong MLAs given 7 days to reply to Speaker’s notice

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