BJP, Congress urge Pranab to intervene

Last Saturday, nine Congress MLAs rebelled against Mr. Rawat and joined the BJP MLAs to claim a majority in the 70-member Assembly.

Updated - October 18, 2016 02:07 pm IST

Published - March 21, 2016 11:45 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

BJP leaders talk to the media after meeting the President in New Delhi on Monday. — Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

BJP leaders talk to the media after meeting the President in New Delhi on Monday. — Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

BJP and Congress delegations separately met President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday, seeking his intervention to resolve the political crisis in Uttarakhand. The Congress expelled Saket Bahuguna, son of the former Chief Minister, Vijay Bahuguna, accusing him of “masterminding” the rebellion of nine party MLAs, including his father.

A delegation led by Kailash Vijayvargiya, a prominent BJP leader in the State, requested the President to advance the floor test from March 28 to March 22 and said this would determine whether the government of Chief Minister Harish Rawat had a majority or not. He also asked the President to direct the Governor to dismiss the government immediately.

Then, the Congress delegation, led by Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad met the President with counterclaims.

After the meeting, Mr. Azad told reporters that he explained to the President that the BJP government at the Centre had “orchestrated the defection,” and this posed a security threat to the strategically significant State that borders China.

“We told him [the President] that last Saturday, they [BJP leaders] took a bunch of Congress MLAs, against their will, to the Governor’s house to claim a majority in the Assembly,” said Mr. Azad.

The Congress leadership also requested the President to ensure that the floor test is not rescheduled.

The delegation said this would determine whether the government of Chief Minister Harish Rawat had a majority or not. Mr. Vijayvargiya also asked the President to direct the Governor to dismiss the government immediately.

Then, the Congress delegation, led by Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad met the President with counterclaims.

About the rebel Congress leaders, Mr. Azad said BJP leaders “enslaved” them and forced them to give “anti-party” statements. “We don’t know where they have kept them. We are concerned about their security,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Rawat criticised the BJP government for “trying to destabilise an elected government.” “Both democracy and secularism are being murdered in Uttarakhand. The Centre’s extra-powerful government is out to shatter the dreams of a small State like ours,” he told reporters in Dehradun. “If Chief Ministers are changed like used hankies with the power of money and muscle, it will perpetuate instability,” he said.

Last Saturday, nine Congress MLAs rebelled against Mr. Rawat and joined the BJP MLAs to claim a majority in the 70-member Assembly.

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