BJP claimed that Appropriation Bill (a money bill) was not passed in the House on 18th of March implying Rawat govt. didn’t enjoy majority support. Additionally CM was engaged in horse trading (as shown in sting video) leading to a complete breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state. Congress claims the bill was passed in the assembly and even the 9 rebel MLAs in their reply to the show cause notice issued by the Speaker stated that they had not voted against the bill.
Real Reason / Political Games
Factionalism was brewing in Uttarakhand Congress for some time. Harish Rawat led a section of MLAs and prevailed upon the Congress High Command to make him the CM replacing Vijay Bahuguna. Now Vijay Bahuguna gave it back to Harish Rawat when he led 9 MLAs to revolt and openly side with BJP leaving the govt. in a minority position. BJP saw an opportunity to dislodge another Congress govt. after having tasted blood in Arunachal. After all Modi’s dream is Congress mukt Bharat and Shah as trusted soldier has to make his wish true.
The stumbling block in the entire story was the Governor (appointed during UPA regime). He didn’t openly side with BJP as allegedly seen in Arunachal case and instead gave Rawat 28th Mar. (Monday) deadline to prove majority.
Congress squared the score by making their Speaker disqualify the 9 rebel Congress MLAs on 27th Mar. (Sunday) effectively reducing House strength to 61. The grand old party master of political tricks having seen many such instances in the past cleverly didn’t suspend / expel these 9 MLAs. If MLAs are suspended / expelled from party they become unattached / free members and are allowed to vote. They knew that nothing less than disqualification would work.
Problem aggravated when these MLAs stated they have not violated any party whip and voted in favour of Appropriation Bill. Congress which claimed Appropriation Bill was passed couldn’t disqualify these MLAs for voting against the bill as it would have meant bill was not passed. Faced with a quandary situation, Speaker used a rather loose clause misconduct in assembly proceedings as ground for disqualification. This flimsy reason is most likely to be quashed by the courts. At the most it was misconduct with party leadership and a ground for suspension / expulsion from party and not disqualification.
This effectively meant that Rawat enjoyed majority in a reduced strength assembly and would pass the confidence motion test. The Congress MLAs would then would have go to Courts but the matter could have taken days and even months and Rawat would have been able to survive a scare. Seeing their plans fail, BJP imposed President’s Rule on 27th Mar. 2016.
However, BJP legal advisors made a gaffe, the House was not dissolved and assembly was kept under suspended animation. This loophole was used by the Court to intervene in the matter.
Conduct of both camps questionable
Many questions remain unanswered and conduct of both camps is questionable:
- Did Governor recommend President’s Rule in the state? If no, is it morally correct for BJP to have done so?
- On what grounds were Congress MLAs disqualified when they voted for the Appropriation Bill – misconduct is a flimsy excuse?