Harish Rawat slams BJP for 'murdering democracy' in Uttarakhand: Vijayvargiya takes up issue with Pranab

Harish Rawat's government in Uttarakhand is in a soup and not just over rebels MLAs who want to join hands with BJP. On Monday, the Rawat government expelled former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna's son Saket Bahuguna and party joint secretary Anil Gupta for six years for "anti-party" activities.

Saket Bahuguna was among the nine MLAs who rebelled against the Rawat government.

On Monday evening, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya and his party colleagues marched from Vijay Chowk to Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, reported ANI. Vijayvargiya later told reporters that he and his colleagues have requested the President to direct the Uttarakhand governor to dismiss the Rawat government and give the BJP time to prove their majority.

Earlier on Monday, at a press conference, Chief Minister Harish Rawat accused the BJP of spreading lies and trying to take political advantage of an internal rebellion in the Congress party. "BJP is trying to topple the democratically elected government here as they have been doing it in other states. An all-powerful BJP government at the Centre is clearly misusing its position to murder democracy in Uttarakhand," Rawat said.

Terming BJP as a party of pseudo-nationalists, Rawat accused the BJP of making unverified and malicious allegations against his government for political gains.

"BJP has levelled three allegations against me related to the land allotment for the smart city project and helping the mining mafia. I want to say categorically that all allegations are baseless," Rawat said.

On the issue of poaching MLAs, Rawat said, "Since the state assembly has been convened to deal with the issue it would be inappropriate to say anything. However, it is clear that the money and muscle power of BJP is at play here."

Rawat denied rumours that his government is under any threat as he had the required numbers and people's support to be in power.

Later in the day, BJP leaders from the state along with the nine rebel Congress leaders are scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, asking him to dismiss the state government.

"Will tell the President to dismiss the current government in Uttarakhand as they have lost the majority. Harish Rawat is now trying to buy people in a fit of desperation to gain support, but he will not succeed. It is his streak of corruption that has led to this situation," BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya told ANI.

Rebel Congress MLA Harak Singh Rawat, meanwhile, has written to the Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul and urged him to call an Assembly Session on Tuesday for the floor test. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi told CM Rawat to stay put in and handle the situation. The CM was supposed to arrive in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the crisis in the state.

Rahul Gandhi had earlier come out guns blazing on the Centre and asserted that the blatant attempt to topple governments was the true face of the party under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Toppling elected Govts by indulging in horse trading & blatant misuse of money & muscle, seems to be BJP's new model, after failure in Bihar. 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," The Office on Rahul Gandhi said in a series of tweets.

Before the crisis unfolded, the Congress had 36 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly. The ruling party also has the support of six members of the Progressive Democratic Front, while opposition BJP has 28 MLAs.

Meanwhile, a delegation headed by former Defence Minister A K Antony will meet the President and complain against the "game of destabilisation" indulged in by the BJP. It will include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Motilal Vora, Ambika Soni, Ahmed Patel and Kapil Sibal.

On the rival side, all BJP MPs from the state and 35 MLAs including Vijay Bahuguna and sacked minister Harak Singh Rawat and seven Congress rebel MLAs, will march from Vijay Chowk to Rashtrapati Bhawan. Their delegation headed by party leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Shyam Jaju will call on him and seek dismissal of the Rawat government.

BJP claims that it has the support of 36 MLAs, including the nine rebel Congressmen, in a House of 70.

BJP leaders said that the Rawat Government in the state has already lost the vote of confidence during the passage of the finance bill and is demanding its dismissal.

They will also complain against the conduct of Uttarakhand Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, who announced passage of finance bill through voice vote and disallowed the division of votes.

BJP on Monday accused the Speaker of working as Chief Minister Harish Rawat's "agent" and asked him resign if he had even an iota of self respect left in him.

"By disallowing a division of votes on the finance bill in the House, the Speaker deprived the members of their right to vote as he knew the majority was against it and it was bound to fall.

"This proves that he was acting as an agent of the state government and not the Speaker of the Assembly who is supposed to rise above political considerations to discharge his Constitutional duties in a non-partisan manner," Pradesh BJP spokesman Munna Singh Chauhan said.

Alleging that by siding with the state government the Speaker had not been true to his constitutional obligations, Chauhan said, "He has no moral right to preside over the proceedings of the state Assembly as he has brought his office into disrepute. He should resign immediately if he has even an iota of self-respect left in him.

Questioning the justification of the Speaker issuing notices to the nine rebel Congress MLAs recently for violating party whip, Chauhan said he cannot do this at a time when 35 members of the House had already given the notice for a motion of no confidence against him.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 22, 2016 07:28:09 IST