U’khand assembly strength down to 62, says Speaker

RSTV Bureau
Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat with Governor KK Paul in Dehradun. Photo - PTI

Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat with Governor KK Paul in Dehradun.
Photo – PTI

The “effective strength” of Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly has now come down to 62, Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal said reacting to the Uttarakhand High Court’s verdict of setting aside the President’s rule in the state. The Speaker was citing disqualification of nine rebel MLAs of the ruling Congress party.

The floor test that is slated for April 29, now hinges on the hearing before Supreme Court on April 27.

Meanwhile, the single judge bench is slated to take up the matter concerning the disqualification of nine Congress rebel MLAs on Saturday.

“The effective strength of the Uttarakhand Assembly is now 62 with the disqualification of the nine rebel Congress MLAs,” Kunjwal opined claiming that division bench High Court has upheld his decision of disqualifying the rebels.

The 91-member assembly comes down to 62 in the event of disqualification of the rebels. Out of the 62 MLAs, 27 belong to Congress, PDF has six and BJP 28. It also includes a nominated Anglo-Indian member.

According to Speaker Kunjwal, the nominated member is also eligible to vote in the vote of confidence in the Assembly.

However, it is not just the Congress who is grappling with the rebellion. BJP too is seeking disqualification of its sitting MLA Bhim Lal Arya.

Asked about rebel BJP MLA Bhim Lal Arya, against whom his party had submitted a petition to the Speaker seeking his disqualification, Kunjwal said the petition has not been disposed off yet and Arya can take part in the trust vote.

Pronouncing its judgement quashing the President’s rule, the High Court bench had firmly observed that “9 dissident Congress MLAs have to pay the price of committing ‘Constitutional sin’ of defection by being disqualified”.

Earlier in the day, Uttarakhand government’s cabinet decided to convene a session of the Assembly on April 29, paving the way for Harish Rawat to go for a floor test as directed by the High Court. The cabinet decision too was questioned by the Centre in its argument before the Supreme Court, which stayed the HC order till April 27.

(With inputs from the PTI)