Rejecting their claim that they were still in the party, the Congress chief whip told the Uttarakhand high court on Tuesday that nine rebel MLAs had “in one voice” with the BJP legislators told the governor that the Harish Rawat government was in minority and presented themselves as an alternative regime.
The submission was made before justice UC Dhyani by advocate Amit Sibal who further argued that the nine were “paraded” before the governor to show the “new majority”.
The judge was hearing the petition by the Congress MLAs who were disqualified by assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal under the anti-defection law.
“Through the letter of March 18 morning and later the appearance in person of all the 35, they were presenting themselves to the Governor as an alternative government. They (the nine) need not have gone in person, yet they were paraded. Why would they go in person if not to show that they constitute a new majority.
“The joint memorandum was submitted on the letter head of Leader of Opposition Ajay Bhatt signed by all 35. It shows that the nine Congress MLAs were speaking in one voice with the 26 BJP MLAs,” Sibal argued.
He also contended that the nine were “hell bent” on seeking the dismissal of the government, “whatever it takes”, be it “making false statements” or “suppression of documents”.
He also said that though the dissident Congress MLAs say they are willing to support another Congress government under another CM, this is not said in the memorandum to the governor and as it was a joint memo, the BJP MLAs would never say that.
Sibal said: “Money bill or no money bill, on the morning of March 18 they told the Governor that the Congress government was in minority and that it was carrying on unconstitutionally. Therefore, their stand is clear and unequivocal.”
“Their conduct cannot get any more overt than this. Money bill was the essence, the core of the party of which they are members. So if they sought a division of votes, that amounts to opposing the money bill.