So far the news has been good for Harish Rawat. On Friday, the Supreme Court had said that nine rebel Congress legislators who were disqualified by the Speaker of the Uttarakhand assembly cannot participate in the numbers test on the floor of the House 'if they have the same status at the time of the vote of confidence. The court on Monday rejected the plea of the MLAs to be allowed to participate in the floor test on Tuesday.
It means the going for Rawat would be smooth in the numbers test. The effective strength of the House is now 62 – down from 71. He has the support of 27 party legislators and the six PDF members are likely to go with him. He needs the support of 32 members to sail through. If the BJP does not have a trick up its sleeve then Rawat is likely to have the last laugh in the protracted battle with the BJP which began on 27 March.
It’s a lose-lose situation for the BJP either way. If Rawat wins, he stands vindicated, if he loses he can play the victims card till the assembly elections due early next year. The BJP has not exactly made itself popular by dismissing his government on frivolous grounds. The nine Congress rebels now stand discredited. This only strengthens Rawat’s hand.
The top court had put questions to the Centre over the imposition of President’s rule in the state more than a week ago. The most important theme in these was whether members switching loyalties, strictly a development within the assembly, merited imposition of Central rule in Uttarakhand and whether it did not violate the basic principles of the Centre-state relations as enunciated by the Bommai judgement of 1994.
The state headed for a constitutional crisis when the Congress rebels on 18 March demanded a division of votes on the money bill and along with BJP leaders met the Governor demanding the dismissal of the government. Before a floor test scheduled for 28 March, the Centre promulgated President’s rule in the state, citing a sting video where Rawat was purportedly shown bribing the party dissidents, triggering several ethical and constitutional questions.
The bigger question involved was, however, political. The decision to dismiss the state government was seen as a deliberate move to de-stabilise Congress governments in the country. Coming after the development in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress saw strong hints of vendetta politics in the move. It cried itself hoarse that the BJP had claimed to ensure a Congress-mukt Bharat and is going about it by dismantling Congress governments. The BJP, on its part, did not seem to have a strong justification for the imposition of President’s rule. The High Court also found its move not in sync with the constitutional arrangement guiding the Centre-state equations.
Updated Date: May 10, 2016 12:50 PM