A win in the trust vote in the Uttarakhand assembly will be a “moral and psychological victory” for the Congress that cried foul after the imposition of President’s rule in the hill state.
The Congress claimed victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttarakhand on Tuesday though the Supreme Court will formally announce the results of the floor test on Wednesday.
Uttarakhand was the second state after Arunachal Pradesh where Congress legislators revolted against their chief ministers. In both the states, the BJP had backed the rebels, fuelling allegations that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was making all-out attempts to destabilise the opposition-ruled states.
Opposition leaders saw developments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as part of the BJP’s “sinister” plan to implement its agenda of “Congress mukt Bharat (Congress-free India)”.
Manipur and Himachal Pradesh were the two other trouble spots for the Congress. While Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh is facing corruption charges, timely intervention by Congress president Sonia Gandhi saved Manipur from going the Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand way.
Analysts primarily held central Congress leaders responsible for the growing dissidence in states, especially those ruled by it. They claim the situation was allowed to go out of hand in Arunachal Pradesh by V Narayanasamy and Ambika Soni, who look after the party affairs in the border state.
Similarly, party general secretary in-charge of Uttarakhand was said to have been informed of the rebels’ plan to join the BJP in ousting the Harish Rawat government but no counter measures were taken.
Congress leaders are hopeful that the defeat in Uttarakhand will force a change in the BJP strategy and “compel” the NDA government to abandon its “evil plan of destabilising” opposition-ruled states.
The results will certainly encourage the Congress managers and enable them to focus their attention in setting their house in order in other states where the party is battling mounting dissidence.
For now, Congress leaders are visibly upbeat over the informal outcome of the floor test in Uttarakhand.
“Democracy wins in Uttarakhand. Defeat for conspirators. Truth always wins over muscle and money power,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.
“BJP must apologise to the nation,” he demanded.
A TIMELINE OF TURMOIL
- March 18: Rebel Congress legislatures and BJP join hands, demand division of votes on Appropriation Bill. Both move to Raj Bhawan
- March 19: Rebel Harak Singh Rawat sacked from Harish Rawat’s cabinet, Speaker issues notice ask rebels to submit reply by Mar 26; Governor ask Rawat to seek floor test on March 28
- March 19-20: Rebels and BJP move to New Delhi
- March 21: BJP march towards President’s house, complaints about constitutional crisis
- March 26: A secret video released, shows the former CM Rawat dealing for rebels. Union cabinet meets the same day, recommends imposition of President’s Rule in state
- March 27: President approves Central rule. BJP, rebels welcome the move; Congress fumes. Speaker disqualifies nine rebel Congress MLAs
- March 29: Congress moves HC against Prez Rule, single bench of HC asks for a floor test
- March 30: Double bench of HC stays the single bench order. Asks Congress and Union govt to reply
- April 4: Union govt files counter affidavit, gives reason behind imposition of Prez Rule
- April 5: HC refuses to stay disqualification of nine rebels and posts the matter for April 23
- April 21: HC revokes Prez rule after Centre fails to commit that it will not revoke its rule for a week, Centre decides to challenge the HC order in the Supreme Court. Rawat suo moto assumes CM’s office
- April 22: The Supreme Court stays the HC ruling revoking Prez rule
- May 6: SC orders a floor test in the state assembly on May 10
- May 9: SC bars rebel MLAs from voting in the Uttarakhand floor test
- May 10: Congress claims victory in Uttarakhand after a tight trust vote in the assembly; SC to declare official result on Wednesday
They were disqualified from participating in the floor test which took place on Tuesday.
Read more about them here.
The law was added to the Constitution as the tenth schedule by the 52nd amendment during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure in 1985 and it aimed to check the ‘Aya Ram, Gaya Ram’ (frequent defection by legislators) phenomenon in Indian politics.
Read more about disqualification, expulsion and splits and mergers under the anti-defection law here.