U’khand: Floor test stayed; HC yet to conclude hearing

Rajat Kain

Dehradun: Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat addressing a presser at Dehradun, March 29, 2016. Photo - PTI

Dehradun: Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat addressing a presser at Dehradun, March 29, 2016.
Photo – PTI

The division bench of Uttarakhand High Court has stayed the floor test in state assembly slated to be conducted on Thursday. The single-judge bench of the High Court had on Tuesday allowed for a floor test after the former CM Harish Rawat moved against the Centre’s promulgation of President’s Rule on Sunday, a day before his government was slated to go for the trust vote.

Challenging the Uttarakhand High Court’s interim order allowing a floor test in the Assembly, the Centre moved division bench seeking stay on Tuesday’s order of floor test even as the President’s rule is in force.

Staying the floor test till the conclusion of hearing, the division bench of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bisht adjourned the further hearing till April 6.

Earlier, the Centre went in a huddle after the court order on Tuesday and rushed Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi to argue before the Nainital High Court.

Justice UC Dhyani of Uttarakhand HC had in its interim order allowed the floor test to be conducted on Thursday, March 31. The result of the same will be submitted before the court in a sealed envelope next day, April 1. In a significant move, the High Court had also allowed the nine rebel MLAs of Congress party to participate in the voting.

The nine MLAs, who sided with the BJP after breaking away, were disqualified by Speaker Gobind Singh Kunjwal under anti-defection law on Sunday. The votes of these nine rebel MLAs will be kept separately, the single bench had ordered.

Before the crisis unfolded, the Congress had 36 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly. The ruling party also has the support of 6 members of the Progressive Democratic Front, while opposition BJP has 28 MLAs.

Nine MLAs of the Congress party, including former CM Vijay Bahuguna and senior minister Harak Singh Rawat, had rebelled on March 18 leading to political crises in the state. Soon after, the BJP paraded nine Congress rebel along with their 26 MLAs before the Governor claiming numbers on its part. But Governor KK Paul asked Harish Rawat to prove his majority on March 28.

Just two days before the trust vote, Rawat got embroiled in a controversy with rebel Congress MLAs alleging him of offering a bribe for support during the floor test.

Defending its move to impose President’s rule, the Centre had claimed there was a breakdown of governance in the state given rebellion within the ruling party.