Congress filed a rejoinder in the Nainital high court on Tuesday, challenging the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand.
Deposed speaker Govind Kunjwal said in the affidavit that Article 212 of the Constitution gave him the power to conduct proceedings in the House and that the Finance Bill was passed with a voice vote. He also said he sent the bill to the governor on 19 March for his assent.
Former chief minister Harish Rawat had challenged the Centre’s appropriation ordinance for the state in the high court, alleging that an ordinance on state finances after April 1 was unconstitutional and aimed at justifying illegal imposition of President’s rule.
The court deferred the date of hearing, and asked the Union government and Congress to file their rejoinder by April 5.
The Union government filed an affidavit on Monday, stating that President’s rule was inevitable because of “complete breakdown of constitutional machinery”. The high court is expected to pronounce a verdict on Wednesday.
Allegations and counter-allegations, however, continued in Dehradun.
“This is a part of the conspiracy to extend President’s rule in the state so there is no scope for discussion (in the House),” said Rawat, questioning why the Central Industrial Security Force was deployed for the security of rebel MLAs.
Former chief minister and rebel Vijay Bahuguna, on the other hand, sent Rawat threatened to file a defamation case over the latter’s allegation that the rebel leaders were paid by the BJP.
“He (Rawat) is making false allegations and he should know it could be disastrous (for him),” Bahuguna told a TV channel.
The BJP expressed confidence that it could form the government. However, senior BJP leader BS Koshyari said the party was under pressure to exercise this option because a lot of time was still left before this Vidhan Sabha completes its five-year term.
“We will get the support of the majority of legislators,” said Koshiyari.
In the House of 70, a party needs 36 seats to form the government. Presently, the BJP has 28, including one expelled MLA; Congress has 27, BSP 2, UKD 1, three independents and nine rebels leaders.