Harish Rawat wins Uttarakhand floor test: Here's how he pulled it off

It was a good day for Congress in Uttarakhand on Wednesday as the Attorney-General informed the Supreme Court that sacked Chief Minister Harish Rawat had clinched the numbers in the floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly with 33 of the 61 MLAs said to have voted for him.

"It has been proved Harish Rawat has got majority on the floor of house," ANI quoted the Attorney-General as saying. Supreme Court also reportedly said that Harish Rawat can resume charge as the chief minister.

The Supreme Court also said that no irregularities in the trust vote and voting pattern were found.

"AG has told the Supreme Court that they are likely to complete proceedings to revoke President's rule in Uttarakhand today," ANI quoted advocate KC Kaushik, appearing for Harish Rawat, as saying.

Reacting to this victory for the Congress, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi tweeted and said that he hopes that PM Narendra Modi learnt a lesson from the people of the country.

With nine disqualified Congress MLAs kept away, 33 MLAs voted for Rawat while BJP MLAs conceded that their side got only 28 in a House with an effective strength of 61.

Harish Rawat. PTI

Harish Rawat. PTI

Keeping in mind that the Congress appears to have barely managed to cross the required number of 31 needed for a majority, one of the key factors that must have been responsible for saving the Congress would have been external support.

After all, in a situation where literally every vote matters because of such close competition, the support of allies and the issue of rebels within a party assume much greater significance.

Apart from the most significant issue of the nine disqualified MLAs, here are the other different factions which played a crucial role in the Uttarakhand floor test:

The Progressive Democratic Front

One of the most important factions that supported the Congress was the PDF, that comprises two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators, one from the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) and three Independents.

The PDF has been supporting the Congress government in the state since its formation in 2012.

There had been rumours earlier that the PDF might break away from its alliance with the Congress, especially after two BSP MLAs Sarwat Karim Ansari and Haridas were believed to be in talks with the BJP, according to The Times of India.

However, when the BSP MLAs joined Harish Rawat outside the state assembly gate just a few minutes before they entered inside, it became evident that they would support the Congress.

BSP chief Mayawati had on Tuesday announced her party's support for the Congress in the Uttarakhand Assembly.

"We have always opposed communal forces. Our two MLAs have reached the assembly. They will vote for the Congress," Mayawati had told reporters outside Parliament in New Delhi.

The cross-votes

The floor test on Tuesday also reportedly saw two cross-votes, the first by Rekha Arya, a Congress MLA who ended up voting against the Harish Rawat government during the floor test, according to NDTV.

Rekha Arya gave the indication that she would support the BJP during the floor test when she walked into the Assembly with BJP leader Ajay Bhatt on Tuesday morning.

The report added that the Congress had been unable to contact her for the last three or four days, even though the party had said that it had talked to her family and was confident that "her heart is with the Congress".

On the other hand, BJP MLA Bhim Lal Arya walked into the Assembly with Harish Rawat and voted for the Congress during the floor test.

According to The Indian Express, the BJP had taken disciplinary action against Bhim Lal Arya around six months ago. The report also said that Arya was known to have praised Rawat publicly and the House, further angering his own party.

“He is in the kabza (grip) of Harish Rawat. They flew him to Corbett National Park. There are always two persons guarding him even when he goes to the restroom,” the report had quoted a BJP leader as saying.

With inputs from agencies


Published Date: May 11, 2016 12:59 pm | Updated Date: May 11, 2016 12:59 pm

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