Supreme Court approves floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly; Harish Rawat set to return as CM
A day after ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat won the trust vote, the union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday revoked President's Rule in Uttarakhand to pave the way for the Congress government's return in the state.
New Delhi/Dehradun: A day after ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat won the trust vote, the union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday revoked President's Rule in Uttarakhand to pave the way for the Congress government's return in the state.
The cabinet decision came after the BJP-led central government told the Supreme Court that Rawat got 33 votes while 28 legislators voted against him in the Tuesday floor test supervised by the apex court.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh that there was “no doubt” that Rawat had the legislative strength to head the state government.
“It is clear (Rawat) has proved the majority,” Rohatgi said.
The court asked the central government “to revoke forthwith the order of proclamation of President's Rule” to let Rawat return as the chief minister, adding it had ordered the floor test on "concession by the parties".
"We may hasten to add, we directed for floor test on concession of the parties and we had varied the order today on a prayer being made by the union of India," the court said.
Rawat's victory, which was already known but officially announced on Wednesday, sparked jubilation in the Congress camp in Dehradun as well as in Delhi.
In Delhi, the Congress said it was the “victory of democracy”.
“Hope Modiji learns his lesson. People of this country and the institutions built by our founding fathers will not tolerate the murder of democracy,” Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
But Rawat, 69, said he had no acrimony with the BJP government and needed its support for the state's progress.
"It has been a tense period, a period of uncertainty and the state suffered losses. But all is well that ends well," an elated Rawat told a crowded news conference in Dehradun.
Congress workers in Dehradun broke into festivities. They danced and sang, distributed and ate sweets, hugged each other and burst firecrackers near Rajiv Bhavan, the party headquarters in the heart of Dehradun.
A peeved Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed the Congress' jubilation would be "shortlived".
“This majority is just for show. It will be a short-term glory. They have already lost the confidence of the people of Uttarakhand. The Congress majority in the assembly was a result of purchase and sale of elected members," BJP leader Shrikant Sharma told IANS outside parliament.
The return of the Congress government, however, awaits President Pranab Mukherjee's proclamation.
The court ruling ended Rawat's more than 45-day long legal battle after he was dismissed by the central government on March 27 citing poor governance.
The crisis for the Congress began in the state when the BJP tried to leverage a rebellion in the Congress led by Vijay Bahuguna, whom Rawat replaced.
The problems peaked on March 18 when the assembly passed the budget Appropriation Bill by voice vote while the opposition and nine Congress rebels sought recorded voting in the house of 70 members.
Rawat's problems are not over yet. He has been summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to New Delhi to answer charges that he, in a sting operation, tried to bribe Congress rebels to return to his camp.
Rawat has denied the allegations.