Repeat of Arunachal in Uttarakhand: Congress MLAs join hands with BJP, Rawat's govt in crisis

Arunachal Pradesh Part 2 is unfolding in far-off Uttarakhand. The Harish Rawat Congress government  is in crisis, and in real danger of losing power.

The processes of the unfolding political crisis in Uttarakhand could be different from that of Arunachal Pradesh, but the pattern remains the same — a group of rebel Congress MLAs joining hands with the BJP to overthrow the incumbent Congress government.

The occasion, chosen by about a dozen Congress rebels to raise their banner of revolt against chief minister Rawat is interesting — the passage of the annual budget by the state assembly. Rawat's government's failure to pass the budget would mean that the government has lost the confidence of the assembly or a majority therein. This could mean that the government falls. The state can't run without authorisation by the assembly to take money out of Consolidated Fund of the state. A constitutional crisis is looming large on Congress government and chief minister Rawat's fate hangs in balance.

Repeat of Arunachal in Uttarakhand: Congress MLAs join hands with BJP, Rawats govt in crisis

Harish Rawat. File photo. IBNLive

If the Congress rebels and BJP succeed in their endeavour, then there could be three situations--imposition of President's Rule in the state, explore possibilities of formation of an alternate government or hold elections a few months earlier than scheduled. But the Congress is still very confident that it will tide over the crisis.

The Congress has been hoping that its rebels which includes likes former chief minister Vijay Bhahuguna, Haraksingh Rawat, Yashpal Arya, Ambika Rawat and others would finally see the reason and take a conciliatory position. If that does not happen and the Congress rebels actually insist on voting against their own government, then all eyes would be on Speaker Govind Singh Kunjal; on whether he allows a division (voting) or insist on passing the budget through voice vote.

Anticipating the turn of events, the BJP had sought appointment with the Governor KK Paul in the afternoon to appraise him of situation and seek his intervention.

The strength of Uttarakhand assembly is 71 (including one nominated member) and the Congress has a razor thin majority. The Congress has 36, the BJP has 29, Bahujan Samaj Party 2, Independent 3, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) 1. Rawat's government could be in danger even if a small number of Congress MLAs choose to defy the party whip to vote against their own government or abstain from voting.

The Congress leadership and chief minister had been generally dismissive about revolt by Vijay Bahuguna and others. Senior party leaders said the unrest was being used as a bargaining tactic. They claimed that Bahuguna wanted a Rajya Sabha berth, Harak Singh Rawat greater prominence. The Congress leaders also charged that BJP was playing dirty tricks for luring its MLAs.

Assembly elections in the state are due in next nine months, January 2017 and it appears that Uttarakhand is already in election mode. This is around the time when MLAs start exploring their future possibilities.

Though the BJP officially denies that it has anything to do with the internal dissensions with Congress ranks, some of its senior leaders including Kailash Vijavargiya and Shyam Jaju are camping in Dehradun.

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Updated Date: Mar 18, 2016 22:20:50 IST

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