BJP has adopted “wait-and-watch” strategy in Uttarakhand, which was brought under President’s Rule on Sunday, in view of the state’s ruling Congress challenging the decision in court and nine of its rebel MLAs seeking legal recourse against their disqualification.
The party had last week expressed confidence that it will form the government in the state as the Congress dispensation struggled to put together a majority but the Assembly
Speaker’s decision to disqualify the rebels supporting BJP put a spoke in its plan.
Party sources said they would wait to see how the matter progresses in court before taking a decision.
“It is no longer a political matter only as the court too will have a view now. We will have to wait,” they said.
Earlier, former chief minister Harish Rawat moved Uttarakhand High Court seeking revocation of President’s Rule in the state and restoration of his government, terming the Modi government’s decision as a “brazen display of high-handedness and authoritarianism”.
BJP media in-charge Shrikant Sharma refuted Congress’ charge that the Centre had “murdered the democracy” in the state, saying it was “murdered” by the Speaker on March 18 when he announced a “failed” bill as passed despite a majority of MLAs raising their hands against it.
He also referred to a sting purportedly showing the then Chief Minister Harish Rawat offering allurements to MLAs and called it “murder of democracy”.
If anyone is responsible for the crisis, it is the Congress leadership, he said.
The Uttarakhand assembly has been kept in suspended animation with the proclamation of President’s Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, over two dozen BJP legislators arrived in Dehradun to a grand welcome at the Jolly Grant airport on Monday.
Hundreds of BJP activists gathered at the airport exit to welcome the legislators, showering flowers and raising slogans.
The BJP MLAs had been camping in Jaipur, Gurgaon and New Delhi for the last one week, to avoid contact with the beleaguered Rawat camp and chances of horse trading since the political crisis erupted in the hill state.
State BJP president Teerath Singh Rawat said after his arrival that the state unit was thankful to President Mukherjee for signing the proclamation of central rule.
“We are very thankful to Rashtrapatiji that he acted as the true custodian of the constitution,” he said.
Other BJP legislators targeted Rawat for drawing Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the issue and said he was doing so only to deflect attention from his failures, poor governance and corruption.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley justified imposition of President’s rule, saying Rawat should have quit as chief minister after failure of the Appropriation Bill.
In a Facebook post titled ‘A State without a Budget’, Jaitley wrote: “This leaves the State without any approved financial expenditure with effect from 1 April, 2016. What better evidence do we need of a breakdown of Constitution? The Congress government of Uttarakhand was murdering democracy every day from the 18 March till 27 March.
“Having plunged the state into a serious constitutional crisis by continuing a government which should have quit after the failure of the Appropriation Bill, and further complicating the crisis, the chief minister started allurement, horse-trading and disqualification with a view to altering the composition of the house,” Jaitley said.
He also criticised Uttarakhand assembly Speaker Govind Kunjwal for suspending rebel Congress legislators.
Terming this move of the speaker as unprecedented, Jaitley said, “This leaves the state without any approved financial expenditure with effect from April 1. What better evidence do we need of a breakdown of the Constitution?”
“It is now incumbent upon the central government to ensure that steps are taken under Article 357 to authorise expenditure of the state with effect from April 1,” he said.
Jaitley said there are strong facts to suggest that the Appropriation Bill was actually defeated and as a consequence, the government had to resign.
The crisis in the hill state erupted on March 18 when nine Congress MLAs rebelled against Rawat’s government, resulting in flip-flop in the passage of the Appropriation Bill. The BJP met the governor that day and staked claim to form the government.