The Centre’s decision to dismiss the Uttarakhand government might jolt the BJP’s efforts to woo regional forces for isolating rivals such as the Congress and Left in Parliament.
The central government also faces a challenge to ratify the latest promulgation under article 356 in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority. Parties such as the Biju Janata Dal and the DMK have protested against the imposition of President’s Rule on Monday.
The Samajwadi Party and the Left, too, have been principally opposed to the “misuse” of Article 356, which empowers Centre to dismiss a government on grounds of constitutional breakdown in a state. “We are completely opposed to the manner in which President’s Rule has been imposed in Uttarakhand. This certainly has created suspicion among other parties about the intentions of this government,” said BJD’s Lok Sabha leader Bhartruhari Mahtab.
SP national secretary Rajesh Dixit said the central government’s action was undemocratic and condemnable. “After the experience in Bihar, it seems BJP has realised it cannot assume power through democratic means. Therefore, the party has started resorting to underhand strategies,” he said.
Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi called the Centre’s move “undemocratic” and said his party will stand by the Congress on this issue. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury described the President’s Rule as a serious attack on democracy. His party colleague, Nilotpal Basu, said, “Dismissal of elected governments has never gone down well with the people. We are confident that opposition parties in Rajya Sabha will not ratify the promulgation.”
Article 356 (3) makes it mandatory for the Centre to lay the promulgation before “each House of Parliament”. It adds the promulgation will “cease to operate” after two months “unless before the expiration of that period it has been approved by resolutions of both Houses of Parliament”.
The BJP-led NDA, even with supporters such as AIADMK, PDP and SDF, has around 81 MPs in the 245-member Upper House.
Trinamool Congress, which supported BJP’s reform-related legislation such as the GST and Real Estate bills, maintained it will not support dismissal of state governments. Party sources said it wants to remain silent as it is fighting the Congress in the upcoming West Bengal polls. “We are focused on the polls. We don’t want to be distracted by other issues,” said TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien.
However, the Shiv Sena supported its ally, the BJP.