Ahead of floor test, rebels and BJP take on CM Rawat

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Leader of opposition Ajay Bhatt with rebel Congress MLAs, a BSP legislator at Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul's residence in Dehradun on March 19, 2016.  Photo - PTI

FILE: Leader of opposition Ajay Bhatt with rebel Congress MLAs, a BSP legislator at Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul’s residence in Dehradun on March 19, 2016.
Photo – PTI

The deadline for nine rebel Congress MLAs to respond to the Speaker’s show-cause notice ends Saturday evening even as the ruling Congress struggles to put their house in order ahead of the trust vote on March 28. Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal served a show-cause notice to the rebels under the anti-defection law soon after they broke away from the ruling party last week.

Meanwhile, BJP once again pressed for “immediate dismissal of the state government after Uttarakhand’s rebel Congress on Saturday alleged that they were offered bribe by Chief Minister Harish Rawat for support during the floor test in the Assembly on March 28.

Dismissing the allegations, Congress party said that the “dirty tricks department” of BJP is at work.

In a statement, AICC’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “Congress will not be cowed down by such tactics, conspiracies and threats. Even today, the Uttarakhand government enjoys majority. We will abide by constitutional directions and will prove our majority on the floor of the House”.

Earlier, in a blow to the rebel Congress MLAs, Uttarakhand High Court on Friday dismissed their plea seeking stay on the show cause notices. Dismissing their plea, the bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia ruled that it was premature at this stage to intervene in the matter.

The show cause notices were served on the rebel Congress MLAs after they allegedly aligned with the BJP in the State Assembly and claimed that the Harish Rawat government had been reduced to a minority.

While the BJP claims that incumbent Congress-led government has come in minority and should be dismissed, Congress still claims that it has numbers to stay in power.

Earlier last week, BJP called upon the state Governor KK Paul claiming to form next government in the state after parading its 27 MLAs at Raj Bhawan. BJP claimed the support of nine “rebel” Congress party MLAs and a lone BSP legislature. BJP on its own has 28 MLAs in the house of 70 seats.

The Governor, however, asked CM Rawat to prove his majority on March 28.

Soon after Congress party cracked the whip on rebels and expelled former CM and rebel MLA Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saket Bahuguna and few other state office bearers.

(With inputs from the Agencies)