Show cause issued to Uttarakhand’s rebel Cong. MLAs, Rahul blames BJP

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:50 am IST

Published - March 20, 2016 07:01 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and State Sports Minister Dinesh Aggarwal (second from right) take a selfie with a girl at a Holi milan programme in Dehradun on Sunday. Photo: Virender Singh Negi

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and State Sports Minister Dinesh Aggarwal (second from right) take a selfie with a girl at a Holi milan programme in Dehradun on Sunday. Photo: Virender Singh Negi

Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal on Sunday issued show-cause notices to nine Congress MLAs who appeared with 27 BJP legislators to meet Governor K. K. Paul at the Raj Bhavan in Dehradun on Friday evening, seeking the dismissal of the Harish Rawat government.

The Speaker has given the nine MLAs time till March 26 to respond to the question why their membership of the Assembly should not be terminated under the provisions of the Anti-Defection Act. Provisions of this Act are applicable if members of a legislature either voluntarily resign from their party or disobey directives of the party leadership on a vote.

The legislative office of one rebel MLA Harak Singh Rawat (whose expulsion from the Congress was recommended by the Uttarakhand Cabinet on Saturday) was also locked up.

In New Delhi, meanwhile, senior BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari paid a visit to the Gurgaon hotel where the rebel MLAs are staying, even as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi blamed the BJP government at the Centre for the events in Uttarakhand.

Rahul blames BJP

“Toppling elected governments by indulging in horse-trading and blatant misuse of money and muscle, seems to be BJP's new model after failure in Bihar,” Mr. Gandhi said on Twitter. “This attack on our democracy & Constitution, first in Arunachal & now Uttarakhand, is the true face of Modiji's BJP. Congress Party will fight demagoguery with democracy,” he added.

Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley however, said the Congress was responsible for its own troubles. “The Congress, be it in Bihar or West Bengal has lowered its sights to play second fiddle to other parties, and now blames the BJP when its own partymen turn against it,” he said.

Top sources in the Congress told The Hindu that the point of confrontation between the dissident leaders and Chief Minister Harish Rawat was around four ministers of Progressive Democratic Front (PDF), a local political outfit that supported the Congress to form the government in 2012. For over a year, Congress stalwart Vijay Bahuguna, who’s leading the rebellion against his own party, had demanded that the PDF ministers be replaced by Congress legislators.

On March 12, senior Congress leader Ambika Soni, who oversees Uttarakhand as party general secretary, had a two hour meeting with Mr. Bahuguna. “The meeting ended on a positive note,” said Kishore Upadhyay, Congress president in Uttarakhand. “We never thought he (Bahuguna) would stoop so low.”

At the meeting, Ms. Soni had assured Mr. Bahuguna that one of the vacant ministerial berths would be filled according to his choice and the issue of ejecting the PDF ministers would be sorted once the assembly session is over. “It’s hard to believe that he turned his back on those terms and betrayed us,” said Mr. Kishore, who was present at the meeting.

According to Mr Kishore, a week ago, the State leadership again spoke to Mr. Bahuguna and three other leaders, who later rebelled, to make sure there were no hard feelings among the party ranks. ( WIth inputs from PTI)

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