Uttarakhand govt promulgates ordinance to shield Rawat: BJP



Dehradun: The dropping of five offices, including three held by Harak Singh Rawat from the ambit of offices of profit, has evoked sharp reaction from opposition BJP which threatened to go to court over the issue, saying the move was meant to save the Rudrapaur MLA.

"The circumstances didn't call for an ordinance. Ordinances are promulgated in matters of public interest and that too in extraordinary circumstances and not to help a minister save his office," Leader of Opposition in Uttarakhand Assembly Ajay Bhatt said today.

Former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank, who had recently approached the Governor Aziz Qureshi demanding Rawat's ouster from the House for occupying offices of profit, said the government's move was tantamount to legalising something being done unconstitutionally by the state Agriculture minister.

"The move is obviously an attempt by the government to save the minister who was on the verge of losing his membership of the House for heading TDC, UPNL, and SCA in violation of Articles 102(1) and 191 (1) of the Constitution," he said.

The Governor on Friday put his seal of approval on the ordinance dropping five offices including Tarai and Seed Development Corporation, Uttarakhand Poorva Sainik Kalyan Nigam Ltd, Uttarakhand Seed Certification Agency and two others from the ambit of offices of profit with retrospective effect, Principal Secretary (Law) DP Gairola said.

A notification on the ordinance was issued on Saturday, Gairola said.

Nishank said the party will gauge the legal options available in this regard and soon file a writ in Uttarakhand High Court challenging the ordinance and seeking Rawat's ouster from the House.

"In defence of the minister, the government was itself saying the offices chaired by the minister did not fall into the category of offices of profit. Then where was the need to bring an ordinance like this," Nishank asked.

PTI