Nine Congress legislators, including Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister Harak Singh Rawat, walked out of the government and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday. The Indian Express reported that the rebel MLAs, led by former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, joined the Opposition party and met the Governor KK Paul to stake claim to form the government. In the 70-member House, the Congress has 36 MLAs and the support of six other Progressive Democratic Front members, while the BJP has 28 MLAs. The Governor on Saturday asked Rawat to prove his majority in the state Assembly by March 28, PTI reported.
The legislators met the governor after a major scuffle in the state Assembly over a Finance Bill. While the Bill was passed by a voice vote following an uproar as the government tried to avoid voting on it, the Opposition party claimed they had majority support in the House. BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said the governor told him that he would go through the House records on Saturday and speak to both sides.
“The governor has to first dismiss the government as it has lost its majority. The government would have fallen if there was voting on the Budget. It was the Speaker’s foul play that led to the passage of the Budget with a voice vote. The governor has to dismiss the government first as it is in minority. The disqualification issue will come up later,” he said. Chief Minister Harish Rawat said he was ready to prove his majority on the floor of the House.
In November, there was a similar situation in Arunachal Pradesh, when the Nabam Tuki government in Arunachal Pradesh was overthrown by rebel Congress legislators with support from the BJP. As a result, Kalikho Pul became chief minister of the state on February 19.