Dehradun: With three more days left for the Supreme Court to give its Constitution-related ruling on the on again-off-again and on again imposition of president's rule in Uttarakhand, the state's 'ousted' chief minister Harish Rawat has said he is still expecting a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying 'let's forget what has happened in the past and start from the beginning'.
Emphatically maintaining that India's judiciary has repeatedly proved the strength of the nation's laws and that of its Constitution, Rawat told ETV, "There's still the option to start everything from the beginning. The Centre can rectify and honour the principle of federalism. The decision of the courts has proved the strength of Indian law and Constitution."
"Modi still can rethink on his decision (to impose president's rule). I still expect a call from Modi, saying let's forget and start from beginning," he added.
"This injury (of imposing president's rule) can be cured only when the Centre gives full support, which it can do even today. Small thoughts and works constitute big things and big works," Rawat told Jagadeesh Chandra, Head, ETV News, in a first interview to a television channel in Dehradun just before a two judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising of Mr. Justice Deepak Mishra and Mr. Justice Shiva Kirti Singh on Friday, stayed Thursday's verdict of the two-judge bench of the Uttarakhand High Court that revoked president's rule over the state and restored the Rawat-led Congress government.
On Friday, the apex court admitted the Centre's challenge to the Uttarakhand High Court's decision and restored president's rule over the state for the simple and technical reason that the April 21 high court ruling issued by Uttarakhand Chief Justice K.M. Joseph had not been "made available in the public domain". The apex court ruled that the high court's judgement would "remain in abeyance" till April 27, the next date of hearing.
It also issued directions to the high court to release the signed judgement by April 26 to all parties involved in the case, who will subsequently file copies before the apex court on April 27. The Supreme Court also received an oral undertaking from Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the Centre would not revoke president's rule in Uttarakhand till April 27 and try to impose a BJP regime in the state.
Rawat further told ETV's Mr. Chandra that he had the public mandate to administer the state, and therefore, he is issuing an "appeal to the opposition."
Rawat said, "They (opposition) should let me do the work. They can support me for the work and development for the state. They can give support proactively. We had given a developmental road map for the state, but they (opposition) tried to dislodge it."
Commenting specifically on the Uttarakhand High Court's order before the Supreme Court stepped in to stay it, Rawat said, "The judiciary has proved that it is the custodian of the common man. Cooperative federalism has been strengthened which Modi himself used to talk about. The (high) court's judgement shows that it has looked into various factors minutely before giving its judgement within the laws of the nation."
He further told ETV, "People had expectations that Modi is different since he has come from the poorer section of society, and therefore, could understand the problems and issues of the common people. But, Modi has not proved to be different and has also behaved like any other common leader. Now, the situation has come that any party can dethrone a government by taking into confidence one or two MLAs from the ruling party."
He said that the ongoing political crisis and developments in Uttarakhand should also be seen as a test for the media in India and how best they understood and interpreted the emerging situation.
"Now, the fight is not confined to me. Now, the fight is for democracy. Now, the fight is on the test of the Anti Defection Law. It's the test of the people of Uttarakhand. It's the Indian Media's test on how they stand in this political turmoil of Uttarakhand. I am confident that we (The Congress) will prove its majority on April 29," Rawat told ETV.