President’s Rule imposed in Uttarakhand
This comes less than a fortnight after a political crisis in the state that was triggered by a rebellion in the ruling Congress party.
The central government on Sunday imposed President's Rule in Uttarakhand because of a "breakdown of governance" in the state, reported PTI. This comes less than a fortnight after a political crisis triggered by a rebellion in the ruling Congress party. President Pranab Mukherjee signed the proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution on Sunday morning, dismissing the Harish Rawat-headed Congress government and placing the Assembly under suspended animation on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet. The decision was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed an emergency Cabinet meeting in Delhi on Saturday to discuss possible action that can be taken in Uttarakhand.
However, the Uttarakhand Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal said he has not received any official information regarding imposition of President's rule in the state. He said the Assembly will function as scheduled till he receives an official letter to the effect. Later in the day, Chief Minister Harish Rawat said the Congress will move court against the Centre's decision. Rawat condemned the Centre's decision, calling it a "murder of democracy" and that it is not acceptable in a parliamentary system.
According to PTI, the Cabinet considered several reports received from Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul, who had described the political situation as volatile and expressed apprehensions over possible pandemonium during the scheduled trial of strength in the state Assembly on Monday. The political crisis in the state arose on March 17 after the Appropriation Bill was declared passed in the Assembly by Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, with the Bharatiya Janata Party and nine rebel Congress MLAs claiming that a division of votes pressed by them was not allowed. They alleged that the Bill was defeated in the voice vote by a majority of the members present, but the Speaker did not test it in a proper division of votes.
The Speaker later served the rebel Congress MLAs a disqualification notice. Disqualification will deprive them of the right to vote against the Rawat government on Monday's trial of strength. It will reduce the effective strength of the House from 70 to 61 and the simple majority figure from 36 to 31, which is likely to make Rawat's task easier. Rawat is left with 27 Congress MLAs, after the nine revolted against him. He also has the support of the six-member Progressive Democratic Front, which take the tally to 33, two more than the simple majority mark in the House. The BJP, on the other hand, said it has the support of 35 MLAs, including its own leaders and the nine Congress legislators considering they aren't disqualified.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said earlier on Sunday, "Everything that can go wrong with constitutional functioning has happened in Uttarakhand. It is a textbook example of breakdown of governance. State after state, the Congress is losing a lot of its leaders because it is taking positions which a mainstream party should not."