Cong cracks whip on rebels; Bahuguna’s son expelled

RSTV Bureau
File photo of former Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna. (PTI)

File photo of former Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna. (PTI)

As the political crisis in Uttarakhand deepens, the Congress has expelled former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saket Bahuguna and party joint secretary Anil Gupta for six years for “anti-party” activities.

Saket Bahuguna was among the 9 MLAs who rebelled against the Harish Rawat government.

State Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay said the disciplinary committee recommended to the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) that Saket and Gupta be expelled on the basis of their statements published in newspapers and put out by news channels.

The PCC accepted the recommendation of the disciplinary committee and expelled them for six years that labelled Saket’s and Gupta’s activities as “anti-party”. Saket was a two-time Lok Sabha candidate from Tehri.

Upadhyay said the party will not accept indiscipline and strict action will be taken against those who violate discipline.

On Sunday, Uttarakhand Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal issued notices to the nine rebel Congress MLAs asking them why they should not be disqualified from the House.

Notices were issued following a request from party chief whip and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hridayesh seeking action against them for violating the party whip in the state Assembly during voting on the Finance Bill.

The notices have been pasted on the walls of the houses of the MLAs concerned which asks them to submit their replies to the Speaker by March 26.

However, Pradesh BJP president and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ajay Bhatt said as a notice of no-confidence has already been moved against the Speaker, he should quit his post.

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.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Harish Rawat has accused the BJP of spreading lies and of trying to take political advantage of an internal rebellion in the Congress party.

”BJP is trying to topple the democratically elected government here as they have been doing it in other states. An all-powerful BJP government at the Centre is clearly misusing its position to murder democracy in Uttarakhand, ” Rawat said at a press conference.

On Sunday, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to target the ruling party at the Centre on the same matter.

“Toppling elected Govts by indulging in horse trading & blatant misuse of money & muscle, seems to be BJP’s new model, after failure in Bihar…Congress Party will fight demagoguery with democracy. This attack on our democracy & Constitution, first in Arunachal & now Uttarakhand, is the true face of Modiji’s BJP,” Gandhi said in a series of tweets.

(With inputs from PTI)