Rawat appears to have clinched numbers in floor test
Dehradun : Congress today won the high-stakes trial of strength in the Uttarakhand Assembly, in a clear setback to the Modi government which had dismissed the state government and imposed President’s Rule on March 28.
As directed by the Supreme Court, the Assembly met for a short duration this morning for the floor test which was the culmination of a number of twists and turns after the Union Cabinet brought the state under Central rule on the ostensible ground that Congress Chief Minister Harish Rawat was indulging in horse-trading to retain power.Subsequently nine rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified.
The result of today’s floor test is expected to be formally announced tomorrow after a video recording of the 90-minute proceedings of the Assembly is presented in the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope, but Congress MLAs claimed victory and BJP MLAs conceded as much.
With the state High Court upholding the Speaker’s decision of disqualifying the nine Congress MLAs which barred them from participating in today’s vote and the Supreme Court refusing to give them relief, the odds were clearly were in favour of Rawat in the Assembly whose effective strength was reduced to 61.
Congress MLA Sarita Arya claimed that 33 MLAs voted for Rawat while BJP MLAs conceded only 28 voted for them. One MLA each of rival sides — Bhimlal Arya (BJP) and Rekha Arya (Cong) are believed to have cross voted for the other side respectively.
The 33 MLAs for Congress included six of the PDF comprising BSP’s two, UKD’s one and three Independents.
“The cloud of uncertainty hovering over Uttarakhand will disappear tomorrow,” an elated Rawat said after the voting in the assembly.
BJP MLAs, who were the first to come out of the assembly premises which was out of bounds for the media, said they could bag 28 votes.
The legislative exercise was conducted for nearly an hour with heavy deployment of security personnel around the Assembly and people other than members of the House and its employees not allowed into its precincts.
The entire media was kept waiting outside the gates of the Assembly.
Nainital MLA Sarita Arya said, “The floor test was conducted strictly as directed by the Supreme Court. I have shared only our victory in the floor test with the media from whom nothing can be hidden.”
Soon after the BJP members left one after another including Ajay Bhatt, Yatishwaranand, Bishan Singh Chufal, Tirath Singh Rawat, Pushkar Dhami and Dilip Singh Rawat,
President’s Rule was lifted for two hours to allow the exercise to take place in the state assembly which was under suspended animation ever since the state was brought under central rule on March 27.
The trust vote comes a day after the High Court yesterday dismissed the petition of nine Congress MLAs challenging their disqualification and the Supreme Court refusing to give any relief to them.