Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal on Sunday issued show-cause notices to the nine rebel Congress legislators who joined 27 Bharatiya Janata Party leaders on Friday to meet Governor KK Paul, seeking the dismissal of the Harish Rawat government. Kunjwal has sought an answer from the Congress MLAs as to why their Assembly membership should not be terminated under the anti-defection law. He has given them time till March 26 to respond to the notices, NDTV reported. According to the anti-defection law, MPs or MLAs are believed to have defected if they either voluntarily resigned from their party or disobeyed directives of the party leadership on a vote.
Among the nine rebel Congress lawmakers were former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister Harak Singh Rawat, who was expelled from the state cabinet on Saturday for “unparliamentary conduct”, PTI reported.
Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Sunday accused the BJP of "murdering democracy" by targeting the state governments led by opposition parties and said he will fight for the people of Uttarakhand. He said, "Though they talk about cooperative federalism, the BJP is targeting opposition party-ruled state governments one by one."
Governor Paul had written to Rawat on Saturday, giving him time till March 28 to prove his majority in the assembly. The chief minister, however, maintained that his government did not face a threat. He said the rebel MLAs were in touch with the government and had not left the Congress, adding that he was ready to prove the majority.
On Friday, 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 chaos when the government tried to avoid voting on it, the Opposition claimed they had majority support in the House. In the 70-member House, the Congress has 36 MLAs – one more than the half it needs – and the support of six other Progressive Democratic Front members. The BJP has 28 MLAs.