India, New Delhi: Today, the hill state “Uttarakhand” was brought under President’s rule by the Centre on grounds of “breakdown of governance” in a controversial decision which comes in the wake of a political crisis triggered by a rebellion in the ruling Congress. President Pranab Mukherjee signed the proclamation under Art 356 of the Constitution dismissing the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat and placing the Assembly under suspended animation on Sunday morning on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet.
The Cabinet had held an emergency meeting on Saturday night presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had cut short a visit to Assam to return to the capital for the purpose. The Cabinet considered several reports received from Governor K.K. Paul, who had described the political situation as volatile and expressed apprehensions over possible pandemonium during the scheduled trial of strength in the State Assembly on Monday.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is believed to have briefed the President late Saturday night explaining the rationale for the Cabinet’s recommendation. The dismissal of the Rawat government now renders Monday’s confidence vote infructuous. It also came amidst reports that Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal had disqualified nine rebel Congress MLAs that would have enabled Mr. Rawat to sail through in the trust vote.
The Congress denounced the decision calling it a “murder of democracy” and said it showed that BJP did not believe in democracy. The political crisis in the state arose after the controversial circumstances in which the Appropriation Bill was declared passed in the Assembly by the Speaker with the BJP and the rebel Congress claiming that a division of votes pressed by them was not allowed.
They alleged that the Bill was defeated in the voice vote by a majority of the members present but the Speaker did not test it in a proper division of votes. The opposition claimed that it had a majority of 35 MLAs, including 9 rebels, in the House that day out of 67 MLAs present. The BJP said the 35 MLAs had written to the Speaker in advance that they would be voting against the bill but the Speaker had refused to take it into his consideration. On Saturday night, the Union Cabinet met amidst reports that the Speaker had disqualified the rebel Congress MLAs that would would have helped the beleaguered government.