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Day after Modi jibe, Rawat orders probe into misappropriation of Uttarakhand disaster fund

Dehradun: Uttarakhand government on Wednesday instituted a judicial probe into the alleged misappropriation of disaster relief funds in the state after the 2013 natural calamity which claimed thousands of lives, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue to lash out at the Harish Rawat dispensation for corruption.

Announcing the probe, Rawat also took a jibe at his predecessor Vijay Bahuguna, who is now with the BJP and was at the helm when disaster relief operations were carried out in the state. He said the saffron party should have conducted an in-house inquiry into the irregularities as the “entire family of executors of the alleged scam are now with them”.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. PTIUttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. PTI

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. PTI

The Prime Minister had on Tuesday said at a rally in Dehradun that he was going to drag Uttarakhand out of the “bottomless pit of corruption in which it was languishing under the present regime”.

Rawat also took strong exception to Modi’s remarks that even a scooter with a capacity of five liters of oil could drink 35 liters of it, a reference to the alleged scam in relief funds.

The chief minister said though the alleged irregularities in the distribution of relief after 2013 tragedy had already been probed by a panel constituted by the state government, a judicial probe has been ordered into it after the Prime Minister’s remarks.

“Though a probe committee headed by the then chief secretary had found no veracity in the allegations and given a
clean chit to everyone involved in the massive relief operations, now that the PM has reiterated the charge we have asked retired justice MS Chauhan of Chandigarh High Court to conduct a probe into the alleged irregularities and find out if there was any negligence on part of officials or any misappropriation of disaster relief funds,” Rawat told reporters at a press conference.

Asked why he was not recommending a CBI probe into the allegations, Rawat said he had more faith in the judiciary and it was in his hands to order a judicial probe.

“It is now a general impression all over the country that the CBI is a tool in the hands of the Centre to settle scores with political adversaries. I have therefore more faith in our judicial institutions. Moreover ordering a judicial probe was in my hands whereas I would have had to look to central authorities for a CBI probe,” he said.

Rawat said calamities strike all of a sudden and quick decisions have to be taken to deal with the situation,
sometimes even at the cost of relaxing the rules and norms.

“However, we are ready for a judicial probe into any negligence on part of officials or misuse of funds,”  he said.

The chief minister also accused the BJP of trying to grab credit for the all-weather Chardham roads project inaugurated by the Prime Minister in Dehradun on Tuesday, saying the state government was very much part of the process of its launch.

“It is not BJP’s brainchild as the party is trying to make it appear. We had conceived the project and consistently worked towards its early launch,” he said.

However, he said he welcomed the launch of the project as the state stood to benefit from it in a big way “provided it is implemented in the manner promised”.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 16:15 IST

CBI summons Uttarakhand CM Rawat in sting CD case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in connection to its probe into a sting operation that purportedly showed the senior leader offering bribes to rebel Congress MLAs. The sting allegedly showed Rawat asking the rebel Congress MLAs to support him during the floor test that took place in May this year.The CBI on Friday said that its investigators had summoned Rawat to appear at the agency headquarters at the national capital on December 26. Confirming the development, a senior CBI official told DNA, “Investigators wanted to examine Mr Rawat in connection to the allegations of bribery made against him in April, 2016.” Rawat had been questioned by the CBI on one previous occasion on on May 9, 2016. Sources told DNA that during the previous session of questioning, Rawat had asked for more time to respond to queries made by the CBI.The case relates to an alleged sting operation carried out in April 2016 wherein Rawat is purportedly heard offering bribes to rebel Congress MLAs in exchange for their support in the assembly floor test.Rawat had dismissed the video as being fake after it was released by rebel Congress MLAs but later admitted that he was in the clip. The probe agency however filed a preliminary enquiry during which the CBI verifies the facts in the complaint received by it.The agency usually only ‘requests’ a person ‘to join the probe’ and does not summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests. If verification of facts shows need of further probe, it may register an FIR or else close the PE.The state cabinet, after Rawat’s victory in the floor test, withheld the notification recommending the CBI probe. Responding to the recommendation the probe agency had said that there was no ground for its withdrawal and it was ‘not legally tenable’ and rejected the state cabinets decision.

Centre using CBI to cow-down political opponents: Harish Rawat’s media advisor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Uttarakhand Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Surendra Kumar on Friday accused the Centre of “using CBI to cow-down political opponents”, after the probe agency again asked Harish Rawat to appear before it on Monday regarding an investigation into a purported sting operation involving him.The CBI has asked Rawat to appear before it in connection with a video allegedly showing him negotiating to “buy disgruntled” party MLAs to save his government during the political crisis in March.This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months. He had earlier appeared before the agency on May 24 during which he was questioned for nearly five hours.Questioning the timing of the summons that comes with the Uttarakhand Assembly polls round the corner, he alleged, “The CBI summons are as conspiratorial as toppling the Rawat government earlier this year.” Terming it a “premeditated conspiracy against the state government”, Kumar claimed, “We knew that the probe agency will be used by BJP against its opponents at the time of elections for petty political gains.””Going by the timing of the summons, it seems the BJP intends to contest the coming state Assembly elections by using the probe agency that has been reduced to an instrument by the Centre to settle political scores,” he alleged.It reflects the sense of frustration in the BJP over its impending electoral defeat, Kumar claimed.

Attacked over namaz break, Uttarakhand CM announces ‘short breaks’ for all

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Under flak over the decision on namaz break, the Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand has said state employees, irrespective of their religion, caste and creed, will be allowed “special short breaks” to offer prayers during their festivals if they make a request for it.”A decision has been taken to allow special short breaks to state employees of all communities, creeds and castes for prayers, religious occasions and festivals. It will be given only if they make a request,” media advisor to the chief minister Surendra Kumar said in a statement. “The Chief Minister took the decision in view of the spurt in demands for holidays by state employees belonging to different religions and communities on festivals and religious occasions,” he said.The announcement came two days after the state cabinet allowed a two-hour break for government staff to offer namaz on Fridays. The cabinet’s decision to allow a special two-hour Friday break for Muslim employees had drawn flak from the opposition parties, including BJP, which had accused the government of indulging in “minority appeasement” ahead of Assembly polls.

BJP slams Uttarakhand govt for declaring special 90-minute Friday break for Muslim employees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Monday slammed the Uttarakhand government for declaring a special 90-minute Friday break for Muslim employees, saying it will set a wrong precedent and accused the Congress of “communalising” the state’s politics ahead of the assembly polls.Accusing the Congress of pursuing a divisive agenda in its greed for power, the party said few people will be left working in the government offices if Hindus, who observe different forms of pujas across the month, are also given a similar concession. BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters here that Congress has a history of “dividing” people on communal lines in its greed for power and what it has done in Uttarakhand is an attempt to hide the Harish Rawat government’s failures.”There is no issue with people of different faiths offering prayers of their choice. But this decision will set a wrong precedent on the matter of principle. From Monday to Saturday, faithfuls in our culture worship different Gods and offer prayers. “If everybody is to be given a favour like this, then who will work in government offices. It is an attempt to communalise the state’s politics ahead of the polls as the government has failed on all fronts. It has nothing to show to people for its work and is attempting to hide its failures under its communal agenda,” he said.Congress has given communal colour to terrorism in its greed for power, Sharma alleged, claiming that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had gone on to say that minorities have the first right to the nation’s resources. For BJP, the poor have the first right, he claimed. The Uttarakhand government has announced a special 90- minute break will be given to the government employees from the Muslim community in the state for Friday prayers.

Uttarakhand: BJP slams Congress for 90-minute Friday prayer break for Muslims

New Delhi: BJP on Monday slammed the Uttarakhand government for declaring a special 90-minute Friday break for Muslim employees, saying it will set a wrong precedent and accused the Congress of “communalising” the state’s politics ahead of the assembly polls.

Accusing the Congress of pursuing a divisive agenda in its greed for power, the party said few people will be left working in the government offices if Hindus, who observe different forms of pujas across the month, are also given a similar concession.

Representational picture. AFP

Representational picture. AFP

BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters in New Delhi that Congress has a history of “dividing” people on communal lines in its greed for power and what it has done in Uttarakhand is an attempt to hide the Harish Rawat government’s failures.

“There is no issue with people of different faiths offering prayers of their choice. But this decision will set a wrong precedent on the matter of principle. From Monday to Saturday, faithfuls in our culture worship different Gods and offer prayers.

“If everybody is to be given a favour like this, then who will work in government offices. It is an attempt to communalise the state’s politics ahead of the polls as the government has failed on all fronts. It has nothing to show to people for its work and is attempting to hide its failures under its communal agenda,” he said.

Congress has given communal colour to terrorism in its greed for power, Sharma alleged, claiming that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had gone on to say that minorities have the first right to the nation’s resources. For BJP, the poor have the first right, he claimed.

The Uttarakhand government has announced a special 90-minute break will be given to the government employees from the Muslim community in the state for Friday prayers.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 18:45 IST

Uttarakhand government employees to get 7th Pay Commission hike from 1 January

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. File photo. PTIUttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. File photo. PTI

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. File photo. PTI

Dehradun: Ahead of the Uttarakhand assembly elections next year, the state government has decided to implement recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission from 1 January, official sources said.

The decision, which will benefit around 2.5 lakh government employees and pensioners, was taken in the state cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Saturday.

The government employees will get the benefit of the 7th Pay Commission from January 1 next year, they said. The arrears for this year will be paid after the finalisation of the procedure for the same.

As a result of the cabinet’s decision, the treasury will have to bear a burden of Rs 3000 crore, they said. The decision to implement the 7th Pay Commission recommendations for government employees of corporation and public venture will be taken by their board and Finance Secretary Amit Negi has been assigned responsibility in this regard.

Dehradun-Haridwar-Rishikesh have been declared metropoliton cities and a consent to make a detailed project report for metro has been given to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

The state government also posed a penalty of Rs 2 crore and Rs 2.5 crore for PG doctors for violating bond of 5 years with the state for essential service.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 17:10 IST

Uttarakhand Assembly election: Congress predicts 33 out of 70 seats in self-conducted pre-poll survey

Dehradun: A pre-poll internal survey conducted by the ruling Congress in Uttarakhand has predicted that the party will win 33 out of 70 seats in the state which goes to polls early next year.

“The findings of the survey is highly encouraging for the party, which will now throw all its might to win all the 70 seats in the House,” Uttarakhand Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay said today.

Apart from projecting the party’s victory in 33 seats, the survey also puts it in a formidable position in another 10 seats, he claimed.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Interpreting it as an indication that the Congress may win 43 seats, Upadhyay said if it happens it will be the biggest electoral victory for a party in the history of the state.

Though he did not clarify the party’s position on its continuing alliance with the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF), sources claimed if it does then members of the Front may contest on Congress symbol.

Upadhyay also hinted that he would like to contest polls from his home turf, the Tehri Assembly constituency.

He was elected MLA from Tehri in 2002 and 2007 but in 2012 he lost by a small margin to PDF’s Dinesh Dhanai.

On talk that Chief Minister Harish Rawat is in favour of fielding Dhanai from Tehri, he said, “It is my home constituency from where I have contested elections all my life. How can I give it up?”

State Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana said the party which was smarting from the setback caused after as many as 10 MLAs deserted it in March, has been enthused by the findings of the pre-poll internal survey.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 18:25 IST

Explain rationale behind imposition of President’s rule: Harish Rawat to BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Tuesday said BJP owes an explanation to the people of Uttarakhand for causing defections in the ruling Congress and imposing President’s Rule in the state before it goes to them seeking votes.Taking a dig at BJP for its proposed ‘Parivartan Yatra’ in the state from November 12, he said “Before it embarks on any yatra, BJP should offer an explanation to people why it brought the state under president’s rule and why it withheld the state’s annual budget passed by the state assembly.” Advising the party to “atone for its sins” before embarking on any yatra, the CM said BJP should also explain to people why it caused defections in the ruling Congress in a premeditated manner.”It (defections) was a pre-planned move by the BJP to destabilise a democratically elected government and the party will have to explain to people if it goes to them seeking their votes,” Rawat told reporters here.President’s Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand in March this year after momentous political developments saw nine party MLAs rebel against Rawat and join hands with the BJP. Their membership of the state assembly was later revoked by the Speaker under the anti-defection law.However, President’s rule was withdrawn in May and Harish Rawat put back in the saddle after he won a court monitored floor test in the state assembly. Gearing up for next year’s assembly elections, BJP will launch a ‘Parivartan Yatra’ in Uttarakhand on November 12 with party chief Amit Shah scheduled to address three rallies across the state in the course of the yatra one each in Dehradun, Almora and Haldwani.

Uttarakhand: Rawat admits govt found 31 skeletons near Kedarnath

Dehradun: The Uttarakhand government on Monday admitted that many skeletons had been recovered from near the Kedarnath temple that was badly hit by flash floods and heavy rains in 2013.

Chief Minister Harish Rawat confirmed that 31 skeletons had been recovered and that 23 had been cremated.

The shocking discovery was made at Triyuginarayan, a spot on the Kedarnath trek which was hit by flash floods and heavy rains in June 2013.

The DNA of the skeletons has been preserved for forensic tests and identification at a later stage, he added.

The disclosure comes after sketchy and unconfirmed reports of recovery of several human skeletons in the Kedarnath region.

Harish Rawat. PTIHarish Rawat. PTI

Harish Rawat. PTI

Officials fear the skeletons were possibly of devotees who fled the raging river waters after the cloud burst over Kedarnath and trekked to higher altitudes but died due to lack of food and water.

The cremation of the remaining eight skeletons would be conducted on Tuesday, an official told IANS.

Chief Minister Rawat has directed officials to do a threadbare combing of the region for the next days to look for more skeletons.

Officials pointed out that the discovery of the 31 skeletons in the Triyuginarayan area indicated that there could be more skeletons buried in the area.

Massive rains struck the Kedarnath-Badrinath and Gangotri routes in 2013, even as the annual ‘Chaar Dhaam’ pilgrimage was underway.

Several thousands had died in the calamity and hundreds had gone missing.

A brief search operation was conducted then but was aborted. Some families conducted their own search and combing expeditions but with very little success.

Uttarakhand BJP leader Rautela joins Congress ahead of assembly polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what is being seen as a shot in the arm for ruling Congress ahead of the Assembly polls in Uttarakhand, influential Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Ranikhet, Narendra Rautela, has joined the party along with his supporters.Rautela who joined the party at Congress office in Dehradun on Wednesday, in the presence of Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) president Kishore Upadhyay was welcomed into the party fold by Chief Minister Harish Rawat, saying it will strengthen the party.Political observers in Dehradun feel that Congress has made a dent into the BJP citadel of Ranikhet represented in the state assembly currently by Uttarkhand BJP president Ajay Bhatt.However, BJP described Rautela’s defection to Congress as “good riddance” for the party.”Rautela’s departure will make no difference to BJP. Even while he was with us, he worked for Congress. It is good riddance for BJP ,” state BJP spokesman Munna Singh Chauhan said.Countering the perception that Rautela’s defection to Congress was a shot in the arm for the party in power ahead of assembly polls in the state, the BJP spokesman said Rautela seldom visits his area and has lost his support base.Assembly polls in Uttarakhand are due next year.

Yoga belongs to Uttarakhand, says CM Harish Rawat

Dehradun: Describing Uttarakhand as the land of yoga, Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Tuesday said a proposal to develop Rishikesh as a wellness township will be considered while Jageshwar, Tungnath and Lohaghat will be developed as wellness centres.

File photo of Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat. PTIFile photo of Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat. PTI

File photo of Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat. PTI

Making the announcement at a state-level workshop on the International Yoga Day, he said yoga “belongs to Uttarakhand whose saints and seers taught the rest of the world about the miraculous effects of yogic postures” on the physical and spiritual well being of mankind.

“People in Uttarakhand are promoting yoga on both personal and institutional levels,” he said.

Last year, yoga programmes held in Rishikesh, Jageshwar and Haridwar had matched international standards and thousands of people from 100 countries participated in the yoga events held on Saturdays and Sundays as part of the Ardhakumbh fair this year, the CM said.

“A proposal to develop Rishikesh as a wellness township will be considered whereas a decision has been taken to develop Jageshwar, Tungnath and Lohaghat wellness centres,” he said.

Yoga education will also be provided in schools, he said, adding the Chief Secretary has been asked to link yoga trainers with schools on a part time basis.

Rawat also honoured people working in the field of yoga education on the occasion and laid the foundation stone of a yoga park at Shaheed Durgamal Park on Garhi cant road here.

Meanwhile, a slew of programmes were also held all over the city to mark the yoga day with Union Minister for Social Justice Thawar Chand Gehlot performing yogasanas at a camp o Rangers College ground and Governor K K Paul performing yogic postures along with Raj Bhawan staff on its lawns early in the morning.

Speaking on the occasion, Paul described yoga as India’s “unique gift to the world” and asked people to incorporate it into their daily routine for their own physical and spiritual well being.

Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker disqualifies BJP’s Bhimlal Arya, Congress’ Rekha Arya under anti-defecation law

Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal on Thursday disqualified BJP’s Bhimlal Arya and Congress’ Rekha Arya from the House under the anti-defection law for voting against their parties during the floor test held on May 10.Both the legislators have been disqualified under the anti-defection law for going against the whip issued by their parties and cross voting during the Supreme Court-monitored floor test, Kunjwal told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There was enough evidence against them to prove that they went against the whips of their parties and action was taken on that basis,” he said.This is the second such action by the Speaker who had on March 27 disqualified nine Congress MLAs who had revolted against Chief Minister Harish Rawat and joined hands with BJP. There are now 60 MLAs in the 71-seat legislature.Violating party whip, BJP Ghansali MLA Bhimlal had voted in favour of the Harish Rawat government while Congress legislator from Someshwar Rekha had voted in favour of BJP during the confidence vote. Both the parties had petitioned the Speaker through their Chief Whips in the assembly demanding action against the MLAs under the anti-defection law.Bhimlal inclination towards Congress was well known and had led to his suspension from the party. But Rekha had switched her loyalty at the eleventh hour arriving at the state assembly in the company of BJP MLAs and cross voting during the floor test.However, her support could not help BJP topple the Rawat government as the party’s tally remained static at 28 whereas Congress, helping the Congress dispensation sail through with the support of 33 MLAs including Bhimlal.

More trouble for Congress: Uttarakhand party chief flays CM Harish Rawat

New Delhi: Indicating further trouble for the Congress in Uttarakhand, the simmering rift between state party chief Kishore Upadhyay and Chief Minister Harish Rawat came out in the open with the former on Wednesday asking Rawat to respect “ministers, MLAs and district leaders” and meet them regularly.

File image of Harish Rawat. PTI

File image of Harish Rawat. PTI

“The Chief Minister should respect and give time to each and every party worker. Every Congress karyakarta (worker) should be respected,” Upadhyay told IANS.

He said: “When President’s Rule was imposed in the state, every Congress worker took to the streets to protest against this. Now that the government has been restored, the Chief Minister should at least meet his workers and respect their sentiments.

“The Chief Minister should give time and meet the district presidents, his ministers and the MLAs,” he added.

Upadhyay had earlier said that Congress in the state would “meet the same fate as the UPA government” if the “rulers of the state” ignore the party workers.

Meanwhile, at the Congress party headquarters, a senior Congress leader sought to downplay the reported conflict between Rawat and the pradesh Congress chief. “It is a fight between Harish Rawat and the state Congress president and High Command has nothing to do with it.”

Congress is facing similar dissension in other states too. Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi floated a new party two days ago.

Six Congress legislators on Tuesday joined the Trinamool Congress in Tripura, pushing the until now main opposition party in the state assembly to third spot.

In another setback to the Congress, former union minister and five-time MP from Mumbai Gurudas Kamat announced he was quitting the party and the political arena.

In the northeastern state of Meghalaya too, there is strong resentment among the Congress MLAs over continuation of Mukul Sangma as chief minister.

CBI question Harish Rawat for over two hours

Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday in connection with a sting operation in which allegedly shows him trying to influence some rebel MLAs of the state Congress. This is the second time Rawat has been questioned by the agency after it lodged a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on April 29. The agency had said that Rawat, during his first round of questioning on May 24, did not respond to all of the queries of the probe agency. A claim refuted by the sitting CM of Uttarakhand. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rawat had also denied the allegation and called the video fake after it was released by the rebel Congress legislators but later admitted that he was on camera in the sting operation.“Mr Rawat was questioned today by our investigators are the Delhi headquarter of the agency. The questioning, that lasted for two and a half hours, is part of the preliminary enquiry,” said a CBI spokesperson. The agency official added that the senior Congress leader will be questioned further if required but did not specify the possible date of the next round of questioning. In a PE, which is generally followed by an FIR, the agency verifies the facts in the complaint received by it. The agency can only “request” a person “to join the probe” and cannot summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests, hence the agency had officially requested the Uttarakhand CM to join the probe.The PE against Rawat was registered on the reference received from the state government (during President’s rule) and subsequent notification from BJP-led central government. This was after rebel Congress legislators released a CD showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly.After Rawat’s won the floor test, the state cabinet withdrew the notification recommending a CBI probe into a sting operation involving him but his plea to stop the central agency’s probe was rejected by the Uttarakhand High Court.

Uttarakhand: BJP meets Guv, demands CBI probe into attack on MLA’s house

BJP has demanded a CBI probe into the attack on former Khanpur MLA Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion’s House in Roorkee. Accusing ruling Congress leaders of instigating a mob to indulge in arson, BJP has submitted a memorandum to the Governor in this regard. Champion is one of the nine MLAs who had rebelled against the Harish Rawat government, plunging the state into a political crisis. He has since joined the BJP. A BJP delegation, led by the party’s state unit chief Ajay Bhatt, called on Governor Krishna Kant Paul here last evening. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the memorandum submitted to the Governor, the delegation accused certain Congress leaders of provoking an angry mob to attack Champion’s house and indulge in arson by torching vehicles parked there. The BJP delegation alleged that the Chief Minister was “acting out of political vendetta to damage those who had revolted against him”. Citing a threat to opposition leaders’ lives under the Rawat government, the delegation demanded strengthening the security of all the BJP leaders, including Champion, and dismissal of the government. Thirty-two people, including 12 police personnel, were injured on Wednesday as an alleged forcible evacuation of a scrap dealer’s shop and desecration of a religious book kept there by an uncle of Champion and his men sparked tension between two communities in Landhaura area of Roorkee. The groups clashed with each other and allegedly indulged in arson at the former MLA’s residence, prompting the police to intervene. Thirteen persons have been arrested in connection with the incident, including Champion’s uncle Rajkumar Krishna Singh and section 144 imposed in the area.

Sting CD row: Uttarakhand HC stays Harish Rawat’s arrest

The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday stayed the arrest of Chief Minister Harish Rawat in connection with the probe of a sting video, in which he can be seen striking a deal with the rebel Congress leaders. The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for June 20. Last week, Rawat was questioned by the CBI in connection with a probe into the sting operation. “I don’t have to produce any proof for my innocence, have not done anything wrong,” Rawat had told media after the questioning. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the Uttarakhand High Court had refused to quash the ongoing CBI probe into the sting operation, following which the agency had summoned the Chief Minister. The sting operation was done in March, when rebel Congress lawmakers voted against the state budget, triggering a political crisis. Later, Rawat government was sacked by the Centre and the state was placed under President’s Rule. However, Congress knocked the door of the Court and Rawat returned as Chief Minister after winning a trust vote ordered by the Supreme Court earlier this month.

Uttarakhand: No end to CM Harish Rawat’s woes as now his Cabinet colleague threatens to quit

The problems for Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, presently under the CBI scanner over the sting CD row, continues as his Cabinet colleague Yashpal Arya has threatened to quit the Congress if he is not nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Sources said Arya has threatened to leave the Congress and join BJP as he is annoyed for being ignored by the party over the Rajya Sabha berth. Several people from Haldwani have gone to meet Arya in past 24 hours, but he didn’t meet anyone. Sources further said Cabinet Minister Preetam Singh met a sulking Arya in Haldwani. The duo are presently en-route Dehradun. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress has given the Rajya Sabha ticket to Pradeep Tamta. Sources revealed that several Congress leaders are annoyed with the decision of giving the Rajya Sabha berth to Tamta as he is believed to be a close confidante of the Chief Minister. The people opposing Tamta’s nomination are of the view that he has been publicly critical of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Reports suggest that Uttarakhand’s Congress in-charge Ambika Soni had assured Arya of getting a nomination for the Rajya Sabha. Sources, however, said the decision was changed in the last moment and Tamta was nominated because of Rawat’s influence.

BJP accuses Harish Rawat of wasting public money on self-aggrandizing ads

Dehradun: Accusing Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat of “misusing” public money, BJP demanded that a case be registered against him and the DG of Information and Public Relations for putting out advertisement aimed at “personal image building” in violation of a Supreme Court directive.

Referring to a full-page advertisement put out by the Directorate of Information and Public Relations in several newspapers on 23 May, BJP spokesperson Munna Singh Chauhan said it was not at all related to matters of public interest and welfare.

“Putting out ads in newspapers and the media is the government’s prerogative and we have no objection to that. But a look at the content of the ad makes it clear it is not related to any matter of public interest.

A file photo of Harish Rawat. PTIA file photo of Harish Rawat. PTI

A file photo of Harish Rawat. PTI

“It has been brought out clearly to push the political agenda of the CM and is also highly critical of CBI which was to interrogate him just a day later in connection with the sting CD case,” Chauhan said.

Alleging that the advertisement was virtually Rawat’s “mercy petition” before the people of the state a day before his interrogation by the investigating agency, the BJP leader said it was like an “election poster” painting the CM as the “survivor of a conspiracy to finish him politically”.

Chauhan claimed the advertisement put out by the Directorate of Information and Public Relations at the behest of the chief minister was not just violation of the Supreme Court ruling against spending of public money over personal image building of a politician but was also against the CBI.

It was as a result of this ad that there was a protest against CBI in New Delhi, he said, demanding that a case be registered against the chief minister for alleged breach of peace.

The party will soon call on Governor K K Paul seeking a direction to the law enforcement agencies to register a case against the CM and the Director General of Information and Public Relations for publishing the ad.

The advertisement shows Rawat thanking the deities of Uttarakhand, its people, his MLAs and the Congress’ central and state leaderships for their support during the recent political crisis in Uttarakhand.

It also speaks of a “conspiracy” to finish Rawat politically by “dragging him into a CBI probe” and lowering his image in the eyes of the people of Uttarakhand.

Chauhan said the DG of Information and Public Relations must be booked as he issued orders for putting out the ad which was critical of the country’s apex investigating agency and thus became party to a political campaign.

“How can a government official become part of a political campaign to vilify the CBI,” he asked.

Sting CD case: Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat to appear before CBI today

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat will on Tuesday appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with a sting operation probe in which he was allegedly shown offering bribe to rebel Congress MLAs to save his government.The investigating agency had earlier rejected the notification of the Uttarakhand Government after taking legal opinion which said that there was no ground for its withdrawal.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier on May 20, the Congress government in Uttarakhand decided to constitute a judicial committee to look into various issues, including incidents unfolding after March 17-18 such as horse trading, misuse of agencies and sting operation among others.Justifying the Cabinet’s decision, Rawat then said that it was in the wider interest of the state that this matter is handed over to a judicial commission.The video shows Rawat indulging in horse trading a day before President’s rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had alleged that the sting was proof of unfair means used by the Rawat regime to stay in power.Rawat has maintained his innocence in the matter and termed the entire episode as a ‘conspiracy’ to tarnish his image.

BJP MP Tarun Vijay attacked by mob for visiting temple with Dalits

Dehradun: Rajya Sabha member Tarun Vijay was today attacked by a mob and his car vandalized after he came out of a temple with Dalit leaders in Chakrata, 180 kilometres from Dehradun.

The mob attacked Vijay and the Dalit leader apparently for visiting the temple where entrance of persons belonging to backward castes is prohibited.

Tarun VijayTarun Vijay

A file photo of Tarun Vijay. AFP

“Vijay, along with a few Dalit leaders visited Silgur Devta temple. The mob pelted stones on them when they stepped out of the temple,” Sub Inspector, Chakrata police station, Lalit Kumar said.

The police team present there rescued the Uttarakhand MP and the Dalit leaders who sustained minor injuries, Kumar said, adding Vijay was taken to a hospital and his condition is stated to stable.

Condemning the attack, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat ordered Garhwal Commissioner to look into the incident.

“Such incidents will not be tolerated. Strict action will be taken against those found responsible for the attack,” Rawat said.

Following the Chief minister’s orders, a team of officers has left Dehradun for Chakrata.

Tarun Vijay attacked: Wife says he is alive as he hid from attackers; CM Rawat promises strict action

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Saturday met BJP Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay who is recuperating at a hospital in Dehradun after an attack on Friday noon. After meeting Tarun Vijay, Rawat promised to take strict action against the accused. Tarun Vijay was attacked by a mob and his car was vandalised after he came out of a temple with Dalit leaders in Chakrata on Friday.Talking to the reporters after meeting the injured MP, the Chief Minister assured that Vijay’s condition was stable and that the doctors were happy with the line of treatment given to him, adding, that he has conveyed to the medical team of complete assistance from the state government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are pursuing this matter. Investigation has been ordered and as soon as the report comes, strict action will be taken,” Rawat added.He also said that public awareness also needs to be cultivated in the matter. “Yes, customs should be respected, but you can’t stop someone from worshipping. I want to call on all religious leaders in the state to open the doors of their temples to people from all faith and also to the Dalits. After all, everyone is human,” Rawat said.Meanwhile, Tarun Vijay’s wife said, “He is really injured, he told me he hid from the attackers that’s why he is alive. The villagers attacked him with sticks and stones and he is in the ICU right now.” The mob attacked Vijay and the Dalit leader reportedly for visiting the temple where entrance of persons belonging to backward castes is prohibited.The police team present there rescued the Uttarakhand MP and the Dalit leaders who sustained minor injuries. Following the Chief minister’s orders, a team of officers has left Dehradun for Chakrata.(With Inputs from ANI)

Uttarakhand govt to provide free geometry box to students

Uttarakhand cabinet on Saturday decided to provide geometry box to all the students from class third to eighth and sanitary napkins to all the girl students in government and government-aided schools.The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Harish Rawat. 6.25 lakh students from government and government-aided schools would be benefited from the decision, Chief Secretary Shatrughan Singh said. It will cost exchequer Rs 3.25 crore annually. Free napkins to girls would cost Rs 15 crore annually, he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Cabinet also decided to contribute half of the premium in Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme, that will cost Rs 4 crore annually to the exchequer. However, it will be for rain-dependent crops. The state government will also give Rs 300 per quintal to farmers as bonus for various mountain crops like mandua, ramdana etc.

Uttarakhand government hand-in-glove with criminals: BJP

BJP on Saturday hit out Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat for withdrawing the Governor’s decision to set up a police station at Tyuni and said the move clearly vindicates BJP’s charge that his government is hand-in-glove with criminals and mafia. “The manner in which Rawat is taking decisions after returning to power justifies our charge that his government has had a close nexus with the mining, narcotics, liquor and timbre mafia,” state BJP spokesman, Munna Singh Chauhan said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said one of the first decisions taken by Rawat after assuming office was to annul a decision taken by Governor K K Paul during President’s rule to set up a police station in Tyuni in Dehradun district on popular demand. “Tyuni is known for narcotics, timber, liquor and wildlife smuggling and residents of the area have been demanding a police station for 18 years now. However, state home minister (Pritam Singh) has been opposing its creation tooth and nail,” Chauhan said. Accusing Rawat of running his government like a “barter business”, in which MLAs and ministers were being allotted areas and given absolute freedom to run them as their fiefdoms in return for their support, Chauhan said his victory in the assembly floor test was part of this quid-pro-quo. “Opposing the idea of a police station in Tyuni whose crime rate is higher than that of Dehradun and is a hub of illegal activity puts it beyond doubt that the state government is doing this to promote the interest of the mafia and perpetuate its unholy nexus with them,” Chauhan said.

Harish Rawat chairs first cabinet meeting after being reinstated

Chief Minister Harish Rawat is holding his first Cabinet Meeting on Thursday after being reinstated to the top post.The meeting is taking place at Uttarakhand secretariat The Centre had yesterday revoked President’s rule from Uttarakhand after Rawat-led Congress proved its majority on the floor of the House.The Congress won by a margin of 33-28 in the floor test on Tuesday.The result of the trust vote was handed over to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover on Wednesday along with video recording of the proceedings in the state assembly. The decision to revoke the President’s rule in Uttarakhand has created an atmosphere of jubilation in the state Congress camp. The Congress has stated it is a victory of democracy. The Centre had imposed President’s rule in the state on March 27, arguing that the Rawat government lost majority when nine rebel Congress MLAs voted against the state government’s annual budget.

dna Morning Must Reads: Uttarakhand floor test; Saina Nehwal on Rio 2016; Salman Khan on godfathers; and more

1. Uttarakhand floor test: Harish Rawat may have the last laugh; SC to declare result todayIt looks like Advantage Congress in Uttarakhand. After the Supreme Court (SC)-monitored crucial floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly, the exultation expressed by Congress members and despair on BJP faces said it all. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Delhi University authenticates PM Modi’s degree, leaves AAP confused, angryUniversity’s registrar Tarun Das said that they checked the records and the degree is authenticated. Read more here3. IAS topper from Delhi wants to bring gender equality to Haryana”I have been preparing for a long time. When I was in the eleventh standard, I decided I wanted to crack the civics,” says the 22-year-old. She speaks of her dedication, and of the focus she cultivated over the years. Read more here4. US Elections 2016: Hillary Clinton loses to Bernie Sanders in coal state of West VirginiaAs Clinton closes in on the nomination, Sanders is still attracting thousands to rallies and his campaign has grown harder. Read more here5. Old world charm fades as Darjeeling tea heads to e-auctionDarjeeling tea, whose first pluck often fetches over Rs 1 lakh/kg, is joining its lesser value brethren into the staid world of e-auctions that offer better price discovery, but no personal touch of bidding while savouring a hot cuppa. Read more here6. Rio 2016: Saina Nehwal confident of India’s chancesSaina Nehwal says India sending largest ever badminton contingent to Rio shows fast increase in graph of sport in country. Read more here7. Humara kaun sa godfather tha, yaar? asks Salman KhanWith Salman Khan, it’s direct dil se. There’s no façade or mask to peel away. That’s probably why his honesty sometimes puts him in controversial spots. Read more here

Has Harish Rawat won the Uttarakhand floor test? Here’s what it all really means

The Uttarakhand Assembly took a floor test of former chief minister Harish Rawat’s government on Tuesday, and according to reports on various news channels, Rawat has won the trust vote. The Supreme Court of India will declare the official result on Wednesday.

It was an unprecedented vote in that it is being directly supervised by the Supreme Court.

In India’s constitutional history, the courts have never had to step in on the functioning of a legislature and it’s for that reason alone that, irrespective of whether Rawat actually wins or loses, the message is already loud and clear. The message is for the NDA government at the Centre. And it is simple: Hands off Article 356.

The BJP should introspect on its acts that brought about this unprecedented denouement in Indian democracy where the apex court not only challenged the Centre’s imposition of President’s Rule in a state, but also accorded to itself the responsibilities of a Speaker. Never before in the parliamentary history of India, not even during the Emergency, had the legislature been subjected to such judicial accountability.

File image of former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. PTI

File image of former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. PTI

The BJP should have realised that Article 356 is a no-go area since the SR Bommai case when its use became justiciable. The verdict in the Bommai case was a strict warning against the Centre’s adventurism and vile tactics to topple state governments led by its rivals. But, perhaps the BJP felt emboldened by its machinations in Arunachal Pradesh and made the mistake of implementing the same template in the hill state: Promote instability by luring rebels, impose President’s rule, revoke it and allow the rival faction to manipulate the trust vote.

In Uttarakhand, the high court checkmated the Centre by first, warning it against revoking the President’s Rule to pre-empt a trust vote and then, quashing it. That the Supreme Court almost upheld the spirit of the verdict by mandating voting on the floor of the House under its supervision is a rebuke the Centre should not forget. The other important lesson, and this is for every political party, is that the days of Aayaram and Gayaram are history.

By disqualifying rebel MLAs from voting in the Assembly, the judiciary has upheld the Anti-Defection Law in letter and spirit.

The fear of the law is now evident in Uttarakhand legislators. Before the Supreme Court-monitored voting, there were rumours that many horses were available for trading in the state’s political market. Now, afraid that they would be disqualified, they have gone back to their party stables.

Over the past two months, the Narendra Modi government has faced a series of embarrassments, taken several U-turns and been forced to rollback decisions it announced with a lot of fanfare.

The way it has gone around destabilising governments in smaller states — first Arunachal Pradesh and then Uttarakhand — it is apparent the BJP is using the Lok Sabha mandate to accumulate power through undemocratic means. Instead of using the mandate to fulfil the promises made to voters, it is more eager to destroy the rivals and pursue politics of vendetta. Perhaps the only jumla the party has taken seriously is that of making India Congress-mukt.

Even if it manages to topple the Congress government in Uttarakhand, the blot of being made to fall on its knees by the judiciary after toying with Article 356 will be difficult to erase.

When Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph, who was part of the two-member bench that quashed President’s Rule in the state, announced the verdict, he used some really harsh words for the Centre. He said the Court was “pained” by the Centre’s actions in the case on imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand where the Centre was acting like a “private party” instead of being impartial. “We are pained that the Central government can behave like this. How can you think of playing with the Court?” he asked.

Uttarakhand should be a timely reminder to the BJP against the perils of playing with the Court, Article 356, democracy and the 2014 mandate.

Uttarakhand crisis: HC dismisses plea of 9 disqualified Congress MLAs, rebels approach SC

The Uttarakhand High Court has dismissed plea of 9 rebel Congress MLAs who were disqualified under the anti-defection law by the state assembly speaker. So in effect, their disqualification stays and they will not be able to take part in the floor test in the assembly to be held tomorrow, May 10.The rebel MLAs who were earlier disqualified have approached Supreme Court as a last ditch effort. Speaker of the assembly has filed an caveat in SC, demanding that if this order is challenged in SC, he must be heard.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is a major boost to the Congress Party ahead of the floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly, The Uttarakhand High Court had earlier reserved its verdict on the nine disqualified rebel Congress MLAs till today. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal and senior advocate Amit Sibal, counsel for Congress Chief Whip Indira Hridayesh, concluded their arguments, stressing on the legitimacy of the disqualification.The nine Congress MLAs had stood against their party on March 18 and supported the BJP by asking for a division of votes on the Appropriation Bill. The President’s rule will temporarily be lifted on Tuesday and former chief minister Harish Rawat will seek the confidence vote in the house. SC allowed for floor test earlier without the participation of 9 rebel MLAs.Earlier, an apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had on April 27 directed the continuation of President’s rule in Uttarakhand. The Centre had imposed President’s rule in the state on March 27 claiming that the Harish Rawat government has lost majority in the assembly. Arun Jaitley alleged that speaker has murdered democracy. Congress on the other hand said that BJP is trying to throttle democracy by imposing President’s rule. With agency inputs

Uttarakhand crisis: New video stings Harish Rawat, gives BJP fresh ammo

As Congress and BJP prepared for a crucial test of strength in the Uttarakhand assembly on May 10, a new purported sting video targeting deposed chief minister Harish Rawat has sparked off a fierce political row. This comes a day before the high court is to pronounce its judgment on the fate of the nine disqualified rebel Congress MLAs. Soon after the video – allegedly showing Congress MLA Madan Singh Bisht admitting to horse-trading – was aired by a local channel in Dehradun, Rawat accused the BJP of indulging in politics of blackmail. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bisht is purported to have said in the video that Harish Rawat was giving the money he had earned from mining to his MLAs to keep his flock together. “Your brother has this much guts to get money out of him (Harish Rawat). I have got them (Congress MLAs) the money and this conversation is between us. I have got the MLAs 25 lakh each. This was given just for the sake of kharcha paani (personal expenditure),” Bisht is seen saying in the video.”The MLAs haven’t demanded the money. I haven’t taken a penny, you can ask Harish Rawat. I told him I won’t take money, give it to poor MLAs. 12 MLAs were paid. I told Harish Rawat to give the money to the MLAs,” he added. Samachar Plus editor-in-chief Umesh Kumar, who released the sting, said the new video is in continuation with the old sting that shows which legislator has received how much amount of money. “They themselves are Harish Rawat supporters and they had cabinet ranks. This sting proves that horse trading is continuing in Uttarakhand and will counter Rawat’s claims that there is no horse trading,” he added.Rawat also claimed that he is being kept under surveillance as if “I am an anti-national”, and that his phones, those of his relatives and aides were being tapped. “Our MLAs and leaders are getting threatening messages from conduits who are posing as relatives, well-wishers and acquaintances,” Rawat told reporters in Dehradun.However, he exuded confidence about winning the trust vote. The Congress has 27 MLAs against 28 of the BJP. But, the key to the test lies in the vote of six PDF members – three independents, one UKD and two BSP – all of whom were ministers in Rawat’s government. The BJP is banking on four of them voting against Rawat, particularly after the second sting. Party sources said it would send a message that Rawat was in trouble and cast doubts on his authority, leading to his calculations going awry.The floor test will involve 27 Congress MLAs, 28 BJP MLAs, six PDF members and one nominated member. In the absence of nine MLAs, the total would be 62, making 32 the magic figure. “The sting shows Rawat’s desperation to be chief minister. He has suffered a loss of face and there should be legal action against those involved in bribery,” said BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni.Party leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari held a news conference in the capital to say it was vindicated in its allegations that Rawat had indulged in horse-trading. “Earlier also there was a sting and now a new sting video has come out in which the MLA is himself saying that the chief minister is offering Rs 25-30 lakh to his own MLAs to placate them,” he said.The Rawat government was reduced to a minority on March 18, after nine rebel Congress MLAs opposed the Appropriation Bill, along with the Opposition. The Centre then imposed President’s rule in the state.

Uttarakhand crisis: BJP, Congress trade charges after new purported sting targets Harish Rawat

Allegations of horse-trading and blackmailing flew thick and fast on Sunday ahead of May 10 trust vote, as Harish Rawat came under attack over a new sting video with BJP accusing him of trying to “buy” legislators while the ousted Uttarakhand Chief Minister claimed that MLAs were being threatened and their phones tapped by central agencies.A purported sting video targeting Harish Rawat which allegedly showed a conversation between rebel Congress MLA Harak Singh Rawat and Congress legislator Madan Singh Bisht was released today by a TV channel, further stirring the political cauldron with the deposed CM accusing the central government and BJP of indulging in “politics of blackmail”. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bisht allegedly said in the video that Harish Rawat was giving the money he had earned from mining to his MLAs to keep his flock together. BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari alleged that the video showed that Harish Rawat was “himself involved in horse-trading”.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: 12 Congress MLAs were paid Rs 25 lakh each by Rawat, claims fresh ‘sting video'”Earlier also there was a sting and now also a new sting video has come out in which the MLA is himself saying that the Chief Minister is Rs 25-30 Lakh to his own MLAs to placate them,” he claimed at a press conference in New Delhi.The Congress hit back alleging that BJP was hatching a conspiracy against Harish Rawat ahead of the trust vote. The party also wrote to Governor KK Paul, demanding that BJP leader and Uttarkhand incharge Kailash Vijayvargiya be kept away from the state till the trust vote takes place as he was “trying to vitiate the political atmosphere” in the state.”I charge the central government and the BJP that they are trying to create this politics of siege in this state. I have decided that after May 10th result, all these blackmailers who are blatantly trying to trap people by offering financial and other allurements, who are trying to blackmail the people, we will launch a fight against them under the leadership of Kishor Upadhyaya,” Rawat said. The Congress leader alleged that his phones and those of his relatives and aides were being tapped. “Central agencies are harassing Congress people through various ways,” he alleged.”Central agencies are openly being misused and not only my MLAs but political leaders are being threatened,” he said. “Our MLAs and leaders are getting threatening messages from conduits who are posing as relatives, well-wishers and acquaintances,” Rawat told reporters here. “I am also being kept under surveillance as if I am an anti-national,” he alleged. Rawat had faced allegations of horse-trading earlier after a purported sting video allegedly showed him negotiating to bring back rebel legislators.

dna Morning Must Reads: Updates on VVIP Chopper Scam; Maharashtra drought; London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan; and more

1. VVIP chopper scam: Tyagi brothers admit to ties with Agusta middlemenAs defence minister Manohar Parrikar mounted an offensive on the Congress in the parliament over the AgustaWestland deal, in a startling revelation, the CBI sources on Friday claimed that former air chief SP Tyagi’s cousins have admitted to having property links with him. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Maharashtra drought: Water transported to Latur is less than a day’s needWhile the entire effort by the railways and state is laudable, the depressing part is that all this water is a full 5 lakh litres less than the daily water requirement of Latur city. Read more here3. Tuesday floor test for Harish Rawat; all eyes on HC decision on rebel MLAsAfter getting Centre’s nod, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly on May 10 for deposed Congress chief minister Harish Rawat to prove his majority. Read more here4. #YesWeKhan: Sadiq Khan declared as the new London mayorThe 45-year-old Opposition candidate takes charge as the first Muslim head of City Hall in London and marks the return of Labour rule to the British capital after eight years of Conservatives in power. Read more here5. Indian Railways attracts Rs 42,000 crore FDI: GovtGovernment on Friday said Indian railways has attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) to the tune of Rs 42,000 crore and will soon float tenders for manufacturing rail coaches in the country. Read more here6. Olympics debutant PV Sindhu seeks inspiration from Saina NehwalExcited to make her maiden appearance in the sporting extravaganza, 20-year-old shuttler says quadrennial event is bigger than World Championships. Read more here7. Salman Khan and Sonia Gandhi should have their apps, too, says Sonam Kapoor Here’s Sonam talking about her new app, her connect with social networking and more over a dozen bouts of laughter. Read more here

Uttarakhand Assembly floor test on 10 May: A no-win situation for BJP

With Supreme Court ordering a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly on 10 May to decide the majority of the Harish Rawat-led government, the BJP-led central government might soon have to face embarrassment as it had promulgated President’s rule in the state. However, it would not have come entirely unanticipated for the party as considering the nine rebel Congress legislators not being allowed to vote and the numbers stacked, in all likelihood Rawat should sail through the test.

If Harish Rawat (pictured) pulls off a victory, it would leave the BJP with egg on the face. PTI

If Harish Rawat (pictured) pulls off a victory, it would leave the BJP with egg on the face. PTI

Only over week ago, the apex court had put serious questions to the Centre over the imposition of President’s rule in the state. The most important ones being whether members switching loyalties – strictly a development within the assembly – merited imposition of central rule in Uttarakhand and whether it did not violate the basic principles of the centre-state relations as enunciated by the Bommai judgement of 1994. Friday’s decision can seen be as a logical extension of that.

The state lapsed into a constitutional crisis when the rebel Congress legislators on 18 March not only demanded a division of votes on the money bill but also met the Governor along with BJP leaders demanding the dismissal of the government. But before a floor test – initially scheduled for 28 March – could be conducted, the Centre promulgated President’s rule in the state citing a sting video where Rawat was purportedly shown bribing the party dissidents. This triggered several ethical and constitutional questions.

The bigger question, however, is political. The decision to dismiss the state government was seen as a deliberate move to destabilise Congress governments in the country. Coming after the development in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress saw strong hints of vendetta politics in the move. It cried itself hoarse that the BJP had claimed to ensure a Congress-mukt Bharat and is going about it by dismantling Congress governments. The BJP, on its part, did not seem to have a strong justification for the imposition of President’s rule. The High Court also found its move not in sync with the constitutional arrangement guiding the centre-state equations.

If Harish Rawat pulls off a victory, it would leave the BJP with egg on the face. Even if he does not, it appears that he won’t be losing much politically. According to political observers in Uttarakhand, the action is generally seen as mindless and it has made the BJP unpopular. With assembly elections due early next year, Rawat would love to play the victim card to the hilt. The nine Congress rebels now stand nowhere. They don’t bring much electoral value to the BJP and thus are not likely to be welcomed to its fold. The chances of them going back to the Congress are almost impossible. This only strengthens Rawat’s hand.

The BJP will now need to re-think its strategy. It was a lose-lose bargain from the beginning. It made matters worse by sticking to its position on the government. Uttarakhand had to face the devastating forest fire without a government in place. Popular opinion is likely to hold it responsible for the sorry state of affairs. With not many months to go for the elections it has the enormous task of rebuilding its image.

Uttarakhand crisis: HC to hear rebel MLAs’ plea challenging Speaker’s action tomorrow

The Uttarakhand High Court will hear a petition filed by rebel Congress MLAs challenging their disqualification under the anti-defection law by the Speaker on Saturday.Justice UC Dhyani of the high court had on Thursday posted for hearing on Saturday an urgent application moved by rebel MLAs Umesh Sharma Cow, Subodh Uniyal and Shailarani Rawat. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday said ex-Chief Minister Harish Rawat should be allowed to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the Assembly on May 10. However, the apex court said the nine disqualified Congress MLAs will not vote in the House.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the apex court order, the effective strength of the House will be reduced from 70 to 61 in which any party mustering the support of 31 MLAs will have the majority.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: SC directs floor test to be held on May 10, nine disqualified MLAs can’t voteBoth Congress and BJP have 27 MLAs of their own. The nine rebel Congress MLAs, who were disqualified by Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal on March 27, have filed two separate petitions in the high court challenging the Speaker’s action against them.While senior Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal and Amit Sibal have represented the Speaker before the single bench, C A Sundaram, L Nageshwar Rao, Dinesh Dwivedi and Rajeshwar Singh are arguing on behalf of the rebel MLAs. The rebel Congress MLAs had sided with BJP to demand a division of votes on the Appropriation Bill in the state Assembly.

Uttarakhand sting operation: CBI summons former CM Harish Rawat for inquiry

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday summoned former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in connection with the sting operation. The sting CD made by the editor-in-chief of a private news channel and circulated by the nine Congress rebels, who created a political crisis in the state by siding with opposition BJP in the state Assembly, purportedly shows Rawat negotiating a money deal with the journalist to buy the support of MLAs who had revolted against him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rawat will join investigation on Monday.Rawat had on Sunday virtually accepted his presence in the video. He, however, said meeting a journalist was not a crime.Claiming innocence, Rawat said if the CD contained evidence of him having made an offer in cash or kind in exchange for the support of disgruntled MLAs he was ready to be hanged in public.”If any evidence is found against me like me offering money or post to anybody, hang me at Clock tower,” he said.Alleging that the sting operation and the CBI probe into it were part of a “criminal conspiracy” by BJP to topple an elected government, he dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah to put him in jail if he is found in the wrong.

SC gives Centre two days to respond on Uttarakhand Assembly floor test

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted the plea of the Centre that two more days be given to it to respond to its suggestion about the feasibility of holding a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly under its supervision.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and and Shiva Kirti Singh, posted the matter for hearing on Friday after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said he has conveyed in right earnest the court’s suggestion which is under serious consideration by the government.

Supreme Court. File photo. ReutersSupreme Court. File photo. Reuters

Supreme Court. File photo. Reuters

The bench recorded the submission of Attorney General that the “Union of India is seriously considering the suggestion given by this court to have a floor test in Assembly to put an end to the controversy that has emerged in this case”.

The bench also noted the submission of sacked Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s counsel Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi that they have no objection if the government accepts the suggestion.

The bench noted that if the government accepts the suggestion, it would subserve the cause of democracy.

While posting the matter for hearing on 6 May, the bench said if the AG does not obtain instructions on the suggestion, the matter will be taken for hearing and there is also a possibility that the matter will travel to Constitution bench for full fledged debate.

Supreme Court asks AG about feasibility of holding floor test in Uttarakhand

Giving a hint that it would pass an order allowing Harish Rawat government to prove his strength in the Assembly, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to make its stand clear by Wednesday on the issue of floor test in Uttarakhand.The court asked Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi to seek instruction from the government in view of the apex court ruling in the Rameshwar Prasad case judgment.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In view of ….judgment, why not have a floor test under our supervision,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said and fixed a detailed hearing on Wednesday.President’s Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand after Harish Rawat government was reduced to a minority on March 18.The apex court had on April 22 stayed till April 27 the judgment of the Uttarakhand High Court, which quashed the Presidential promulgation. The Centre has challenged the high court order before the top court.On April 27, it had extended the stay till further orders and had also framed seven questions while giving the liberty to the AG to include other questions the government would like to be addressed.Earlier, the court had also questioned the grounds on the basis of which the President’s Rule was imposed and asked the senior most law officer of the government to address seven queries raised by it.”Whether the Governor could have sent the message in the present manner under Article 175 (2) for conducting floor test,” the bench had said in its first question.It had further asked whether the disqualification of MLAs by the Speaker is a “relevant issue” for the purposes of invoking President’s rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.

Uttarakhand: The curious case of President’s Rule

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to consider a court-monitored floor test and get back to them by Wednesday. The apex court had on April 27 pronounced that President’s rule in the state of Uttarakhand would continue till it pronounces judgement on the Centre’s plea challenging the Uttarakhand High Court’s judgement on the issue. Though that statement implied that the floor test in assembly on April 29 would stand cancelled, the two-judge bench consisting of Justice Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh were of the opinion that the answer to the current situation could be solved if a floor test is conducted. Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, who appears for the Centre, was thus asked to mull over the suggestions given by the court. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on April 22 had stayed the judgement of Uttarakhand High Court which had quashed the President’s rule in the state.
ALSO READ Supreme Court stays Uttarakhand HC order of lifting President’s RulePresident’s rule in UttarakhandOn March 18, 2016 during passing of the state Budget, rebel 9 MLAs of Congress joined hand with opposition and asked for a division of vote. If the budget failed to pass, Harish Rawat govt would have fallen as it was a money bill. But the speaker refused division of vote and passed the budget by voice vote.
ALSO READ After bouquets, crisis returns for Harish Rawat in UttarakhandThe rebels immediately went to the governor and sought the dismissal of Rawat govt. Much political turmoil ensued and finally on March 27, 2016, on the advice of the Union cabinet, Article 356 was imposed by the President in Uttarakhand. According to Arun Jaitley, democracy was murdered by speaker in the Assembly whereas Congress interpreted it as BJP forcefully imposing President’s rule in the state. Uttarakhand High Court’s take on the issue
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: High Court to resume hearing on rebel Congress MLAs’ petition todayWhen the matter of President’s rule in Uttarakhand was taken to the High Court, the bench consisting of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bist, said “even the President can go wrong”. It added, “There is no king or absolutism. Howsoever high you are, the law is above you. Legitimacy of relevant inference drawn from the material that is placed before the President is open to judicial review”.A day after this, according to the judgement passed by the High Court, the Congress government in the state led by Harish Rawat was revived. However, the Supreme Court on April 22 stayed the judgement of Uttarakhand High Court. The Premise in Arunachal PradeshOn January 26, 2016, President’s rule was imposed in Arunachal Pradesh on various grounds, including dissidence. Governor JP Rajkhowa mentioned cow slaughter, threats and an episode with Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s council of ministers that almost resulted in physical assault as some of the reasons for the imposition of President’s rule in the state. The Governor had sent six reports to the President claiming that ‘Constitutional machinery has broken down in the state’. However, the primary reason that was stated for the move was that the party had split in December, wherein 21 of its members had teamed up with 11 BJP members and ousted the Speaker and the Chief Minister in two assembly sessions. On the basis of the report submitted by the Governor, the apex court took up the case for hearing. Supreme Court’s stand on President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh When the apex court of the country was approached in this matter, their stand was clear – the Governor of a state holds ‘complete immunity’ and thus would not be answerable to the judiciary for a decision taken in their official capacity. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in the course of argument drew the bench’s attention to Article 361 (1) of the Indian Constitution, which protects the President and the Governor from legal action. The clause verbatim states that, ‘The President, or the Governor or Rajpramukh of a State, shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties’. Once Supreme Court weighed in on the legality of the matter, a floor test was conducted which helped Kalikho Pul assume office as the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, which led to the withdrawal of President’s rule in the state.Uttarakhand: The Apex Court steps inBased on the apex court’s stand on April 22, Rawat had to step down again.Since, the apex court did not have the verdict copy of the High Court on the day it was first slated for hearing, it stayed the Uttarakhand High Court judgement. The case was then listed for hearing on April 27. The bench had then recorded Rohatgi’s undertaking which said, “Union of India shall not revoke the Presidential proclamation till the next date of hearing”.So what now?Supreme Court in its previous hearing had stated that they would want to wind up this issue before the court breaks for Summer vacation on May 16. However, as stated earlier, the Supreme Court in its last sitting has suggested that President’s rule could temporarily be lifted for two days to conduct the floor test, which could aid the court in making a decision.Looking at court’s attitude, it does look like a floor test will be held sooner or later in Uttarakhand. Whether the 9 dissenting MLAs are allowed to take part may decide the fate of Harish Rawat.

Uttarakhand forest fire: Three NDRF teams deployed; PMO assures help for relief work

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Saturday sought information on fires in forests in Uttarakhand from the state government and assured all possible relief.The National Disaster Response Force deployed three teams on Saturday to control forest fires in Uttarakhand that have destroyed nearly 1900 hectares of forest land in 13 districts since February.”Three teams of NDRF comprising 135 personnel deployed to control fire in forests in Uttarakhand. The operation has begun,” said OP Singh, Director General of NDRF.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NDRF teams are equipped with water tankers, floating pumps and medical setup to assist the rescue operation. The teams will be posted at Almora, Pauri and Gauchar in Chamoli districts.Locals have been told to report a fire incident to the concerned district magistrate as soon as they spot it.Pre-fire alerts listing possible fire points over the next seven days in forest areas are being made available on the forest department website.Besides ravaging forests, the fire has killed four people, including two women, in Uttarkashi and a woman and her child in Nainital district. Two others were reportedly burnt in separate incidents in Nainital and Chamoli districts.Authorities had to close National Highway 58 that connects Badrinath for hours on Thursday after the forest fire could not be controlled.Governor K.K. Paul has asked officials to scale up operations to control the fire.He has ordered deployment of additional staff and allocation of Rs. 5 crore to meet out the immediate financial needs required to control the fires.Deposed chief minister Harish Rawat has written to Paul urging him to declare Uttarakhand a ‘forest fire-ravaged’ state.

Uttarakhand: BJP dares Congress to say sting video was false

Daring Congress to term the “sting operation” on Harish Rawat as false, BJP on Thursday said it was ready to swear by the Ganga and claim the party did not approach any Congress MLA to garner support.”We are ready to swear by the Ganga in front of the media on the appointed day and time to assert that we did not approach any Congress legislator nor did we make him any offer to buy his support.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Our only condition is that Harish Rawat and PCC president Kishore Upadhyaya should also swear by the holy river and say that the sting operation on the former CM was false,” Uttarakhand BJP presidentAjay Bhatt told reporters while replying to Rawat’s remark that BJP should swear by Ganga if it did not made any offer to Congress MLAs. Terming Congress as a “lie-generating machine”, he said the party’s motto is that a lie turns into truth when spoken over again a hundred times.Rawat had earlier asked the BJP to go to Har ki Pairi in Haridwar and swear by the holy waters of the Ganga to say that the party had not approached Congress MLAs for their support.With Congress and BJP hurling allegations at each other in the wake of the political storm in the state, two Congress MLAs on April 26 accused the BJP of offering them a bribe of Rs 50 crore to break ranks with Rawat.Congress MLA from Badrinath Rajendra Bhandari and its MLA from Tharali Jeet Ram alleged they had been offered a bribe of Rs 50 crore, an assembly ticket to a family member and a Rajya Sabha seat by the BJP in exchange for their support.Reacting to the allegation, BJP had asked the Congress to either produce evidence in support of the charge or offer an unqualified apology for making such wild accusation against the party.

Uttarakhand crisis: We have faith in the judiciary – Harish Rawat on SC ruling

With the Supreme Court maintaining a status quo on President’s rule in Uttarakhand, deposed chief minister Harish Rawat on Tuesday said he has full faith in the judiciary and will accept the apex court’s decision.”I have total faith in the judiciary. We will embrace whatever the apex court finally rules in case of Uttarakhand,” he told reporters in his brief reaction to the Supreme Court order directing maintenance of status quo on the presidential promulgation in the state. Echoing Rawat, senior party leader and former minister Indira Hridayesh also said her party respects the courts of law.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We respect the judgement of courts. We believe in guarding the Constitution,” she said.Similar reactions came from opposition BJP too with the party’s state president Ajay Bhatt saying, “We have faith in the Supreme Court and whatever final verdict it gives will be acceptable to us.”The Supreme Court today extended its stay on the quashing of the President’s rule while hearing the Centre’s appeal against the Uttarakhand High Court judgement revoking central rule in the hill state.

Every act of public functionary must be bona fide, not mala fide: Uttarakhand HC

Nainital: Every act of a public functionary at any level must be bona fide even in an action like imposing President’s rule in a state, which is liable to be struck down if it is done with mala fide, the Uttarakhand High Court has held.

The court noted that there is a modicum of power with the President having regard to Article 74 to always ask the Cabinet to reconsider any advice but if the same advice is re-tendered after re-consideration, it binds the President.

Representational image. News 18Representational image. News 18

Representational image. News 18

“The material (on which the decision is taken) cannot be irrelevant or extraneous. It cannot be mala fide. Every act of a public functionary at any level must be bona fide.

“It is, therefore, that, even in an action under Article 356, the action is liable to be visited with invalidation if it is done mala fide,” the bench of Chief Justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bist has said.

The observations are part of the 99-page judgement the bench orally dictated in the open court on 21 April which was made available on Monday with the signatures of the judges.

The judgement quashed the imposition of President’s rule imposed in the state on 27 March and revived the government of Harish Rawat who had challenged the President’s notification under Article 356.

The Supreme Court had on Friday stayed the judgement till 27 April on the ground that the signed verdict was not available and asked it to be submitted by Tuesday.

Teach BJP a lesson for dislodging my govt: Deposed Uttarakhand CM Rawat

Dehradun: Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has asked the people of the state to teach a befitting lesson to the BJP, accusing it of hatching a conspiracy to topple an elected government.

Rawat held rallies at Tharali, Narayanbagad, Karnaprayag and Gopeshwar in Chamoli district on Sunday and asked people to teach a befitting lesson to the BJP, accusing it of hatching a conspiracy to topple an elected government, creating political instability in the state and derailing its development.

He addressed the rallies as part of the second phase of his save democracy yatra to mobilise public opinion against the imposition of President’s rule in the state.

A file photo of Harish Rawat. PTIA file photo of Harish Rawat. PTI

A file photo of Harish Rawat. PTI

He said though he had no idea when the clouds of political uncertainty will lift from Uttarakhand, assembly elections were not far away and people had a chance to teach a lesson to those guilty of derailing the state’s development.

Assembly elections in Uttarakhand are due early next year.

Rawat also highlighted the decisions taken by him in “public interest” at the two Cabinet meetings he chaired during the brief revival of his government recently in the wake of the High Court’s verdict revoking President rule in the state on which a stay was put by the Supreme Court just a day later.

Though their implementation will depend largely on what the Supreme Court rules on 27 April, Rawat took nearly a dozen populist decisions at the two cabinet meetings with an eye on assembly polls including reappointment of guest teachers and hiking their salary to 15000 per month, setting up a committee to look into reduction of land circle rates, a pension of Rs
3100 for identified statehood agitationists, an increase of Rs 200 in the pensions of widows, old women and the handicapped.

Pradesh Congress President Kishore Upadhyay, who accompanied the former chief minister, claimed large crowds attended the rallies.

This is the second phase of Rawat’s save democracy yatra which covered constituencies of rebel MLAs in its first phase.

Uttarakhand crisis: BJP claims support of more than 9 rebel Congress MLAs

Amid a bitter judicial row over imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand, a top BJP leader on Monday hinted at the party enjoying support of more Congress MLAs than the nine disqualified rebels. He also asserted that though only the nine rebels have gone public about their support to BJP, “more” Congress MLAs may switch sides in the event of a floor test.BJP is keeping its cards close to chest as the Supreme Court is currently hearing the case on imposition of central rule in the state, while the plea of nine MLAs against their disqualification is pending before the state High Court.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We got only as many (Congress) MLAs to support us openly as we needed for a simple majority. There could be more support for us. BJP has the support of a majority of MLAs even if these nine MLAs remain disqualified,” the leader, who declined to be named, said.In the 71-member assembly, both Congress and BJP have 27 MLAs each, barring the nine Congress rebels and one BJP rebel. There is also a block of six MLAs, including three independents, who had been supporting the Harish Rawat government when it was dismissed. BJP believes that some of them could be worked on to change sides.The BJP leader also dismissed the Congress’ charge that it was engineering defection in its ranks to topple its state governments as seen in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.”Keeping its flock together is the responsibility of Congress not BJP. If there is a rebellion in our party say in Madhya Pradesh or Gujarat, then it will be our fault not Congress’,” he said.There are also strong sentiments in the BJP against several observations made by the state High Court, which had restored the Rawat government and castigated the Centre over the imposition of President’s Rule. Among the court’s observations criticised by him were that the rebels have committed a “sin” and that a “pro- development government” was brought down.

President’s judicial accountability is a must: BJP shouldn’t shed crocodile tears

The biggest takeaway from the Uttarakhand high court’s judgement — which may or may not be vindicated by the Supreme Court on April 27th — is its comment on the judicial accountability of the President of India. During the court proceedings, the chief justice of the high court came down heavily on the governor for acting on extraneous considerations and for misleading the union council of ministers. That is when the Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohtagi, told the court that if the president of India, the elder statesman, in exercise of his wisdom, found the governor’s recommendation tenable, then the charge against the governor that he acted on extraneous considerations would not hold good. It was then that the chief justice made a candid observation – that there are situations when even the President, with all his wisdom, can go wrong. And when the President goes wrong, it is the task of the higher judiciary to point out his mistakes and take corrective action.

The BJP has found this remark highly objectionable. Both its spokesmen, Nalin Kohli and Sambit Patra, expressed their anguish at the unsavoury portrayal of the President which, they felt, undermined the highest office of our land. They told the television viewers that the BJP was prepared to accept brickbats on account of the imposition of the Article 356 in Uttarakhand, but the party would not tolerate the erosion of the prestige of the institution of the presidency. When the anchors and other panelists reminded the BJP spokesmen that the President was amenable to the judicial review, these gentlemen waved the copy of the Constitution to argue that the Article 361 clearly envisaged the Presidential action immune from the judicial interference.

President Pranab Mukherjee (left) and Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat (right) in happier times. PTIPresident Pranab Mukherjee (left) and Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat (right) in happier times. PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee (left) and Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat (right) in happier times. PTI

These party spokesmen were either ignorant or feigned ignorance about a spate of the Supreme Court judgements on this issue in the last two decades. It is true that for almost three decades after the enforcement of the Indian Constitution, the high courts had gone by the letter, not spirit, of the provision enshrined in Article 361 and had upheld the imposition of the President’s Rule on that ground. Instances abound. The Kerala High Court, in K K Aboo Vs Union of India case, refused to go into the constitutionality of the proclamation of the President’s Rule. In Rao Birinder Singh Vs State of Haryana case, the high court held that the President, while exercising power under Article 356, did not act on behalf of the Executive of the Union but in a constitutional capacity and hence exercise of the power by the President was not amenable to the jurisdiction of the court. In A Sreeramulu case, the court held that judicial review was barred for a proclamation under Article 356 as the presidential satisfaction is basically a political issue and the court did not want to go into what was patently a political question. Almost similar views were expressed by the Andhra High Court in Hanumantha Rao Vs State of Andhra Pradesh and by Orissa High Court in Bijayanand Patnaik Vs President of India case. It is noteworthy that none of these cases came up for consideration of the Supreme Court.

In 1977, the Supreme Court was approached when nine state governmentss were dismissed and fresh elections ordered by the Janata Party government at the Centre. The Supreme Court upheld the dissolution of the state assemblies, but for the first time, asserted that the President’s Rule can be subjected to the judicial review (contrary to the position hitherto taken by the High Courts). In Assam assembly dissolution case (Vamuzo Vs Union Of India), the Chief justice of the high court did not allow judicial review but his brother judge in the bench did say that judicial review option was available. In SR Bommai Vs Union of India case (1989), the full bench of the Karnataka high court held that Presidential proclamation was justiciable. In 1992, the Madhya Pradesh High court heard the case of the dissolution of the state assembly and for the first time in India’s constitutional history, the HC struck down the Presidential proclamation as unconstitutional.

President of India promulgated President’s rule in six states between 1989 and 1992. They were heard together by the Supreme Court and is popularly known as S R Bommai Vs Union of India case (1994). The court found that there was no ‘reasonable nexus’ between the reasons disclosed and the satisfaction of the President. Justice P B Sawant put it down categorically: “ Whether it is ‘subjective’ or ‘objective’ satisfaction of the President or it is his ‘discretion’ or ‘opinion’, this much is quite clear that the President cannot exercise his powers under the Constitution on wish or whim. He has to have facts, circumstances which can lead a person of his status to form an intelligent opinion requiring exercise of discretion of such a grave nature that the representatives of the people who are primarily entrusted with the duty of running the affairs of the state are removed with a stroke of the pen. His action must appear to be called for and justifiable under the Constitution if challenged in the court of law. No doubt, the courts would be chary to interfere in his ‘discretion’ or formation of the ‘opinion’ about the ‘situation’, but if there be no basis or justification for the order under the Constitution, the courts will have to perform their duty cast on them under the Constitution.”

In the Ranmeshwar Prasad Vs Union of India case (2005), the supreme Court reiterated this position: “The President’s satisfaction has to be based on objective material. The objective material must vindicate that the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provision of the Constitution. That is a condition precedent before the issue of the proclamation.”

In that case, the Supreme Court pointed out that no objective material was placed before President Kalam in Moscow (he was on a State visit) to justify his signing of the proclamation to dissolve the Bihar assembly. There was an implied censure of the President, couched in polite language.

The Uttarakhand High Court has said exactly the same about the action of President Pranab Mukherjee what the Supreme Court had said about the actions of President Kalam.
President Kalam had seriously discussed the option of resignation after the SC snub (but he was apparently dissuaded by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh), as revealed by Dr Kalam’s Press Secretary. But President Pranab Mukherjee is a hard-boiled politician who, for sure, does not believe in resignations on moral or ethical grounds.

Will President Mukherjee take a cue from President Narayanan who had the courage of conviction to turn down the government’s proposal to impose President’s Rule twice – first in 1997 when he returned the United Front government’s recommendation to dismiss the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and again in 1998 when he returned the Vajpayee government’s proposal to dismiss the Rabri Devi government in Bihar?

The President will have to choose – if he wants to be loyal to the Constitution or to the Powers-that-be.

We will follow SC’s judgement with due respect: Harish Rawat

Following the SC’s stay on the judgement related to Uttarakhand crisis, CM Harish Rawat said that the state is facing a huge issue and until the Supreme Court makes a final judgement, President’s rule can not be revoked.The Supreme Court on Friday stayed till April 27 the judgement of the Uttarakhand High Court quashing the imposition of President’s rule, giving a new turn to the continuing political drama in the state by restoring the Central rule in Uttarakhand.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Before passing a brief order, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh recorded an undertaking given by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the “Union of India shall not revoke the Presidential proclamation till the next date of hearing”.The apex court clarified that it was keeping in abeyance the judgement of the High Court till the next date of hearing on April 27 as a measure of balance for both the parties as the copy of the verdict was not made available to the parties.While listing the matter for hearing on April 27, the bench said that the High Court shall provide the judgement passed on Thursday to the parties by April 26 and on the same date the copy of the verdict shall also be placed before the apex court.The Supreme Court’s stay has the effect of undoing the revival of the Congress government led by Harish Rawat by the High Court judgement on Thursday. During the hearing, the bench also observed that as a matter of propriety the High Court should have signed the verdict so that it would be appropriate for it to go into the appeal.The apex court issued notice to Harish Rawat and Chief Secretary of the state on the petition by Centre challenging the quashing of Presidential proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution in the state.

Uttarakhand crisis: Centre should allow state governments to function, says CM Harish Rawat

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Friday said the Centre should allow the state governments to function and not take any step violating the Supreme Court rulings in the S R Bommai and others cases on the issue of imposition of President’s rule.The remarks came on a day when the government moved the apex court challenging the Uttarakhand High Court verdict quashing President’s rule in the state.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stressing that there should no violation of the top court’s rulings in the Bommai and other case, Rawat said, “The Centre should allow the state governments to function on their own under the federal structure. The states have their own role.”
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: Don’t disturb ‘federal structure’: Rawat warns CentreHe said as per the Indian political tradition, dismissal of state governments has been termed as wrong.The Chief Minister hoped that the Centre does not get any relief from the Supreme Court on the Uttarakhand issue.”Whether the decision regarding Uttarakhand is right or wrong should be left to the people of the state. States should also ensure that there is no harm to the country,” he said.Rawat said he has given directions to officials to take steps to deal with water crisis in the state and take decisions on pending matters.

Modi govt is mighty and broad chested: Harish Rawat mocks after Uttarakhand HC ruling

An upbeat Harish Rawat on Thursday made it clear that his government does not want to pursue a confrontationist path with the “mighty, powerful and broad- chested” Centre, asking it to work in a spirit of cooperative federalism.Hailing the Uttarakhand High Court verdict setting aside President’s rule in the state and restoring his government, Rawat said the Modi government should forget the recent developments and cooperate. His colleagues have been told to let go off the bitterness and work together to take the state forward on the path of development, Rawat said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We don’t want to fight…They are powerful, mighty and broad chested. We do not talk of fighting, but talk of cooperation. I would request the Centre to forget the past and work in the spirit of cooperative federalism,” he said addressing a press conference at his residence.Welcoming the HC order restoring his government, he said, “Uttarakhand has got justice… This is a victory of people of Uttarakhand. We welcome the verdict. The whole country knows who was behind the political instability in the state.”He also said, “I would like to thank High Court on behalf of all democratic and progressive forces.” Rawat urged the Centre to let the state do its work and said this is not the time of celebrate but to fulfil his duties towards the state. He said the Centre’s act of imposing President’s Rule just ahead of the vote of confidence inflicted “four deep wounds” on Uttarakhand.Listing them out, he said, “Defection was caused with the use of coercive measures, when with Governor’s permission we were a few steps away from proving our majority and President’s rule was imposed by the Centre.”He added, “The poor man’s budget was ordered to be thrown in the dustbin and welfare schemes went haywire at a time when all schemes lined up were to be finetuned towards the end of financial year.”The crucial time when the momentum of the budget spending was to take place has now gone and now “we have to strive to compensate for the loss suffered during the last two months”.”All our plans have gone haywire and we will once again try to put them together,” he said.Rawat said people of the state suffered a lot due to the political instability in the past two months and its developmental schemes have also suffered. Rawat said he would still request the Centre to support Uttarakhand in its development as his government was ready to forget the past and move forward together.Coming down heavily on the Centre for the March 27 proclamation issued under Art 356, a division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice K M Joseph said the imposition of the President’s rule was contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

Shaktiman’s death: If I am found guilty, cut my leg says MLA Joshi

Dehradun: Police horse ‘Shaktiman’, which suffered multiple fractures on its hind leg during a BJP protest in Dehradun triggering widespread outrage, died on Thursday after battling infection and other complications for over a month.

“The horse passed away at 5.30 pm. He was suffering from medical-related complications. The exact cause will be known only after post-mortem,” IG Garhwal Sanjay Gunjyal said.

Shaktiman’s story stirred many across the country after it was seen in television visuals taking multiple blows and dragging its broken, mangled limb in excruciating pain during the protest on 14 March.

Police horse Shaktiman whose leg had to be amputated after he was beaten up at a BJP rally, passed away on Wednesday. PTIPolice horse Shaktiman whose leg had to be amputated after he was beaten up at a BJP rally, passed away on Wednesday. PTI

Police horse Shaktiman whose leg had to be amputated after he was beaten up at a BJP rally, passed away on Wednesday. PTI

The 13-year-old didn’t respond well to a prosthetic leg brought from the US, doctors said. It spent the past few weeks at the police lines in Dehradun. It was a well trained horse and part of Uttarakhand Mounted Police for years. It had participated in several parades.

“Shaktiman was injured on 14 March after which we had to operate on him. He was later fitted with an artificial leg. But he was unable to fully recover from an infection,” SSP Dehradun Sadanand Date said.

BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi, accused of instigating the brutal attack on the horse, said, “I am very sad. I was not at fault, not even 0.1 per cent. If I am found guilty, then cut my leg.”

The lawmaker was arrested and later let off on bail last month.

In a sharp reaction, Union minister Maneka Gandhi said, “Shaktiman was a police officer on duty and the person who put him through so much pain and ultimately killed him should be arrested for killing a police officer.”

“Horses should no longer be part of our police system,” she said, adding,”They serve no purpose and in every crowd engagement they are at the mercy of any vicious person who is too cowardly to do anything but injure the defenseless animal”.

Expressing shock over the demise of the horse, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said,”It was a brave soldier of Uttarakhand and died while performing its duty.”

The horse had lost its leg after it was brutally beaten during clashes between BJP protesters and the police on 14 March.

“Though the artificial limb was put on Shaktiman, it was not working well and he was putting his entire weight on the other leg. That is why the infection spread. Today also a lot of care was taken and about eight doctors attended to the horse. It is sad that we could not save him,” R S Meena, IG Law and Order, Uttarakhand, said.

Across the country, people have stood by Shaktiman and have demanded that action be taken against the BJP MLA.

Many had argued that Shaktiman should be euthanised because of the pain and discomfort as he struggled to get used to his prosthetic leg.

Rawat said at one stage in recent weeks it appeared that the horse was getting well and trying to stand.

Shaktiman was dragged into a raging political row in the weeks before Uttarakhand was placed under President’s rule, a decision challenged by Rawat in the Uttarakhand High Court.

The BJP had then attacked the Congress accusing it of using the horse to target its lawmaker and to try to keep him away from assembly proceedings and possible voting.

BJP’s Shaina NC said this was not an issue to be politicised. “It is the loss of life of an animal,” she said, adding animal lovers across the country feel that a wrong has been done. “I think we all need to own this up at our own end,” she said.

The state BJP chief Ajay Bhatt accused the Congress of politicising the issue to target the BJP and defame its MLA.

Animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi said, “Shaktiman died the same day when it was attacked and its leg broken. Horses with such weight have very little chance to live on three legs. We were mentally prepared for this but political parties are playing blame games.”

Neha Joshi, the BJP MLA’s daughter, claimed many television channels have proved that her father did not harm the horse in any manner. “He has regretted the incident involving the mob,” she said. The BJP MLA is out on bail.

Claiming that Shaktiman was essentially killed the day his leg was broken, Peta India called for strengthening laws to save other animals from similar cruel deaths.

“Our equine veterinarian always warned his quality of life would be forever damaged and he may not live.

“We urge the government to act fast to ensure other animals are spared from cruelty and horrific deaths by strengthening the current weak penalties for cruelty to animals,” it said in a statement.

Police horse ‘Shaktiman’ injured during BJP protest in Uttarakhand, dies

Decorated Police horse Shaktiman, who had become an emotive symbol of cruelty against animals across the country, died in pain in Dehradun on Wednesday.He was allegedly hit by lathi blows from BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi during a protest march on March 14. The blows had made Shaktiman retreat abruptly which caught his hind leg in an iron railing causing multiple fractures.Joshi was arrested after national outrage over the incident. He is out on bail now.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The horse passed away at 5.30 pm. He was suffering from medical-related complications. The exact cause will be known only after post-mortem,” said IG Garhwal Sanjay Gunjyal who was supervising rehabilitation of Shaktiman.Expressing shock, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat said, “I had hopes that he will live through. Alas! He was a brave soldier of Uttarakhand and died while performing its duty.”Animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi said, “Shaktiman died the same day when it was attacked and its leg broken. Horses with such weight have very little chance to live on three legs. We were mentally prepared for this but political parties are playing blame games.”Bought as a calf from animal fare in Punjab in 2008 for Rs97,000, Shaktiman had grown into a sturdy stallion and served with distinction in tough conditions of Haridwar Mahakumbh in 2010.He used to take part in Republic Day and Independence Day parades every year without fail. Last year, Shaktiman commanded and led the Foundation Day parade of Uttarakhand state on November 9.As Shaktiman died, outrage poured again in the social media putting state BJP in the vortex of double trouble. It is already on the back foot for sacking Harish Rawat led Congress government and putting the state under President’s rule.Trying to bail out her party, Neha Joshi, the BJP MLA’s daughter, claimed many television channels have proved that her father did not harm the horse in any manner.”He has regretted the incident involving the mob,” she said.Post incident, several operations were performed on 13-year-old Shaktiman and he was finally given a prosthetic leg but was confined to the police lines. Getting to know about Shaktiman on the internet, a doctor had come all the way from American with a high-end prosthetic leg to help the horse get”Though Shaktiman was fitted with an artificial leg but he was unable to fully recover from the infection. The artificial limb was not working well and he was putting his entire weight on the other leg. That is why the infection spread. Today also a lot of care was taken and about eight doctors attended to the horse. It is sad that we could not save him,” R S Meena, IG Law and Order, Uttarakhand said.

Uttarakhand crisis: Even President can go wrong, matter is subject to judicial review, HC Chief Justice tells Centre

Deciding on the President’s rule in Uttarakhand, the High Court on Wednesday told the Centre that even the President can go wrong and everything is subject to judicial review.The court was hearing a writ petition of ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s plea challenging the imposition of President’s rule on March 26.The court came down heavily on the Centre over its submission that courts cannot have jurisdiction over President’s assent <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is no decision like that of a king, which can’t be subject to judicial review. That’s the essence of the Constitution,” reported ANI quoting the Chief Justice. Stating that even the President can go wrong, the court said, “everything is subject to judicial review, you should rejoice at evolution we have had.”
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: You are cutting at root of democracy, HC tells Centre”We are not doubting the wisdom of the President, but everything is subject to judicial review,” the court added.Rapping the Centre on Tuesday, the court said that by imposing President’s rule it was taking away the powers of an elected government and introducing ‘chaos’ and that a floor test ‘cannot be deprived of its sanctity’.Earlier this week, the court had told the Centre that it is cutting at the root of democracy. “Root of the matter is you are cutting at the root of democracy. Interference in the affairs of states is not to be seen lightly, emergency power should be used in extraordinary cases.”

Uttarakhand crisis: You are cutting at root of democracy, HC tells Centre

The Nainital high court on Monday cautioned the Union government for treading on a dangerous path by imposing President’s rule in Uttarakhand.In scathing remarks, the double judge bench of Nainital high court led by chief justice K M Jospeh observed, “This colours our mind. Can you remove a government based on a solitary incident and the government, which is in its fifth year? Root of the matter is you are cutting at root of democracy. Interference in the affairs of states is not to be seen lightly, emergency power should be used in extraordinary cases.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court reminded the Union government that the “Governor is not an agent of the Centre” and the “interference in the state’s affairs is not be seen lightly”. The court asked, if it was not “totally extraneous” for the Union government to be concerned over disqualification of nine rebel MLAs and ‘interfere’ in the affairs of the state which is done only in “extraordinary instances”? The court’s observation came while hearing former chief minister Harish Rawat’s petition challenging President’s rule in Uttarakhand imposed in controversial circumstances last month.The high court may give a decision after summing up of Centre’s arguments by attorney general Mukul Rohtagi on Tuesday.The Central government had imposed President’s Rule in Uttarakhand on March 27, a day before governor had asked the chief minister to prove his majority in the state Assembly.The court also said, “Can the Centre topple a democratically elected government in its fifth year? It is the Governor who must call the shots. He is not an agent of the Centre. He had taken a call to ask for a floor test.”Defending its decision, Centre filed an affidavit in court claiming that the constitutional machinery had broken down in the state.The central government has submitted eight reports to the court including Governor KK Paul’s report to the President. Rohtagi argued that the state budget was never passed in the assembly and Speaker Govind Kunjwal had “misused his powers” by declaring a failed finance bill passed and did not allow voting on the bill despite members asking for it.To this the court asked, “What is passing through our mind is, is it the lookout of the Central government as to what would have happened on March 28 (date given for the floor test) in view of the changed composition and in view of the nine ousted MLAs?”“Will it not be totally extraneous for Central government, which is ruled by another political party, to be concerned by changed composition?” the bench asked Rohatgi.To this Rohatgi contended that the Speaker’s decision of not allowing 35 MLAs to vote on their demand for division on introduction of money bill amounted to “destroying democracy” as the 35 constituted the majority view.He also alleged that state CM Harish Rawat and the Speaker were “in cahoots” to scuttle the demand for division and there has been “twisting of facts to show division occurred after passage of Bill.”

Uttarakhand crisis: BJP flags off yatra against Congress

Stepping up attack on Congress, BJP on Sunday launched a yatra here to “expose” alleged corruption during Harish Rawat’s rule and horse-trading of legislators.”The ‘Remove corruption, save Uttarakhand’ yatra which will travel across the state will make the people aware of the deeds of Congress and the attempt to buy legislators by the ousted Chief Minister,” state BJP chief Ajay Bhatt said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The yatra will reach Haldwani on April 18 and Dehradun the next day. In the next stage, the yatra will go to other parts of the state where the flag will be handed over to the district chiefs, he said. A CD of the purported ‘sting’ video which allegedly shows Rawat trying to bribe legislators will be shown to people during the journey.

Uttarakhand crisis: BJP says it will do ‘whatever is in the interest of people’

Dehradun: Keeping its options open in Uttarakhand, the BJP on Friday said it would do whatever is in the interest of the state, be it forming a government or going to polls to seek a fresh mandate.

“We would do whatever is in the interest of people of Uttarakhand. If forming a government is in their interest we shall do that and if going to polls serves their interest better we will not hesitate from doing that either,” BJP national spokesman Anil Baluni said when asked about BJP leaders issuing contradictory statements on whether or not they would consider the option of forming a government in Uttarakhand.

President’s rule was imposed in the state on March 27 after a constitutional crisis erupted with nine rebel Congress MLAs aligning with the 26-member BJP in the state Assembly, with an effective strength of 70 members, to demand a division of votes on the appropriation bill, a collective legislation on the state’s annual budget.

Baluni said the imposition of President’s rule in the state had brought major relief to people who had long felt suffocated under a corrupt government.

Deposed Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat. PTI

Harish Rawat. PTI

Hitting back at Harish Rawat for often accusing the BJP of toppling a democratically-elected government in the state by “using money and muscle” to lure his MLAs, Baluni said the former chief minister himself was responsible for the mess around him.

“Rawat has no right to blame others for the mess around him. The entire country has seen the sting video in which the former chief minister is seen openly indulging in a money deal in a bid to buy back disgruntled legislators to save his government.

“He should not blame BJP for his failure. If his MLAs felt suffocated under him and deserted him, how are we to be blamed for this?” he said.

He also charged the deposed CM with bringing the name of Uttarakhand into disrepute which was known all over the country earlier for the innocence of its hill people.

“Ever since the sting video began being shown on the TV channels, people all over the country have stopped talking about the innocence of the hill people,” the BJP spokesman said.

Crediting the Narendra Modi government with laying a strong platform for the country’s development, he said its effects had begun to be visible on the surface.

“The country’s growth rate stood at 4.8 percent when BJP formed the government at the Centre, it now hovers around 7.5 percent.

“At the time of UPA, highways were being built at the rate of 3.5 kilometres per day which has now risen to 18 kilometres per day. We have set a target of making it 30 kilometres soon.

12 kilometres of railway tracks are being laid on a daily basis across the country under Suresh Prabhu which was something unheard of earlier,” the BJP leader said.

“A strong foundation for growth has been laid in the past two years and the country is all set to touch new heights in the next three years,” he said.

Uttarakhand crisis: High court to hear pleas on imposition of President’s rule on 6 April

Dehradun/Nainital: Congress and BJP are anxiously awaiting the high court’s decision on two major
petitions related to imposition of President’s rule in the state which would be heard on 6 April even as they work to keep their flock together.

A division bench of the high court would resume hearing on the Centre’s petition challenging the single bench’s order asking deposed Chief Minister Harish Rawat to go for a floor test in the state Assembly and the one filed by Rawat against the order allowing disqualified rebel Congress MLAs to vote during the floor test.

File image of Harish Rawat. PTI

File image of Harish Rawat. PTI

The single bench’s order has been put in abeyance pending conclusion of hearing on these two petitions.
While the Centre has challenged the single bench order on the plea that a floor test in the state Assembly cannot be ordered when the President’s rule is in force, Rawat has sought review of the single bench’s order questioning the constitutionality of disqualified rebel Congress MLAs being allowed to vote during a floor test.

While the Union of India is being represented by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, senior Supreme Court Lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi are representing Rawat. These two petitions and another filed by Rawat through Sibal challenging promulgation of an ordinance by the Centre on an Appropriation Bill on the state’s annual budget are to be heard by the division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bisht.

Meanwhile, the two main political parties are trying hard to keep the MLAs together amid allegations of horse-trading. Congress sent at least 19 of its MLAs to a resort in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and six of its nine rebel legislators, who aligned with the BJP, are in Delhi.

No one in the Congress circles here seems to have a clue about where the rebels are putting up in Delhi as apparently BJP wants to ensure that they steer clear of any coaxing or cajoling or divisive tactics of the rival camp.

With nine rebel MLAs breaking away, Congress is left with 27 MLAs of its own and is supported by the six-member Progressive Democratic Front which take its number to 33 in the 70-member state Assembly.

The BJP on the other hand has 27 MLAs of its own and nine rebels of the Congress who have been disqualified by the Speaker but have gone to court challenging validity of his action on the ground that it came after imposition of President’s rule which puts the assembly under suspended animation.

However, their petition is to be heard by the court on 11 April.

Uttarakhand crisis: Congress to take out padyatra against Centre from Monday

Congress will stage demonstration rallies and take out padyatras in the state from Monday to protest against the Centre’s “conspiracy to dislodge” elected governments in several states, including the one headed by former chief minister Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand.Pradesh Congress vice president Jot Singh Bisht said the proposed stir is the part of a country-wide agitation announced by the party’s central leadership. He said they would protest against the “undemocratic” methods the BJP-led central government adopted to “plot” the toppling of democratically-elected Congress governments.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bisht said the party workers have been asked to gather at nearly 200 places, especially at the birthplaces or ancestral villages of freedom fighters from the state, martyrs of the statehood movement, and to take out from there “Save Democracy, Save Uttarakhand” yatras, which will be led by senior Congress leaders.”They will extensively tour the Assembly constituencies in these yatras and interact with the people to publicise the steps taken by the state government and tell them how the BJP used money and muscle to throw democratically-elected, well-performing government out of power,” Bisht said.These yatras will also be conducted in the Assembly constituencies of the rebel Congress MLAs who “back-stabbed” the party and alligned with the BJP to create the political crisis in the state, he said.The teams will converge at the party’s state office here on April 18, exactly a month since the political crisis in the state began with nine party MLAs revolting against Harish Rawat-led government, he said. They will then proceed to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue nearby where they will reiterate their pledge to protect democratic institutions in the country, Bisht said.

Uttarakhand crisis: BJP welcomes HC order staying tomorrow’s floor test

BJP on Wednesday welcomed the Uttarakhand High Court Division Bench order staying tomorrow’s floor test in the Assembly, saying it has offered clarity and lifted the uncertainty caused by the order of a single judge of the court yesterday.LIVE England vs New Zealand 1st Semi-Final T20, ICC World T20 2016, March 30, 2016″We welcome the order. The order delivered yesterday for holding the floor test tomorrow had created a lot of uncertainty. The Division Bench’s order has given clarity,” BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said reacting to the order. Attacking Congress, he said it has been caught in its own trap and should not blame the BJP for President’s Rule because no government can be run when a majority of MLAs are against its continuation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Governor’s report also mentioned about the horse trading involving the then Chief Minister Harish Rawat. He was caught offering allurements to his own party MLAs. Congress has shamed democracy. Actions of its government necessitated President’s Rule” he said. Rawat was involved in political “intrigue” against former Chief Minister and Congress veteran ND Tiwari, Sharma alleged, adding that he “worked for the removal” of former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna. “Now, he is facing rebellion. He should not be blaming BJP for it.”The Division Bench of Uttarakhand High Court today stayed till April 7 the floor test in the Assembly that was slated for tomorrow.Staying the order of the single judge U C Dhyani, the two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice K M Joseph posted the matter for April 6 for final hearing on the writ petition filed by ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat challenging the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

Harish Rawat’s fate put on hold: Uttarakhand HC stays floor test in state assembly till April 6

The Uttarakhand High Court has imposed a stay on the floor test in the state assembly, scheduled to be held on 31 March. The hearing on the floor test will now be held on 6 April. A divisional bench of the High Court has also asked the NDA government at the Centre and the Congress government in power at Uttarakhand to file their respective affidavits by 4 April.

File image. PTIFile image. PTI

File image. PTI

The decision comes just a day after the High Court had allowed the floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly to be held even while President’s Rule was in place in the state. The nine disqualified rebel MLAs of the Congress parties were also allowed to participate in the floor test by the court.

However, the Centre had intervened in the matter, saying a state under central rule cannot technically face a test of strength. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had claimed that doing so would mean “there are two governments in place, one sitting in the assembly and one at the Centre”.

Speaking to the media following the court’s decision, Rohatgi said the Centre was happy with the latest development. “We are satisfied with the verdict of the high court,” Rohatgi said.

The Uttarakhand crisis

The Congress, which has ruled the state since four years, has claimed the support of its 27 MLAs plus another six from the PDF and one dissident BJP MLA. Nine Congress MLAs rebelled against their party and have joined hands with the BJP, which has 27 legislators.

Following the rebel MLAs breaking ranks, the Centre had imposed President’s Rule in the state on Sunday on grounds of “breakdown of Constitutional machinery”. Chief Minister Harish Rawat had moved court calling the Centre’s decision “arbitrary” and had demanded its quashing. Following an appeal made by his government, the High Court had ordered a test of strength to be scheduled for 31 March.

Harish Rawat’s fate put on hold: Uttarakhand HC stays floor test in state assembly

The Uttarakhand High Court has imposed a stay on the floor test in the state assembly, scheduled to be held on 31 March. The hearing on the floor test will now be held on 6 April. A divisional bench of the High Court has also asked the NDA government at the Centre and the Congress government in power at Uttarakhand to file their respective affidavits by 4 April.

File image. PTIFile image. PTI

File image. PTI

The decision comes just a day after the High Court had allowed the floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly to be held even while President’s Rule was in place in the state. The nine disqualified rebel MLAs of the Congress parties were also allowed to participate in the floor test by the court.

However, the Centre had intervened in the matter, saying a state under central rule cannot technically face a test of strength. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had claimed that doing so would mean “there are two governments in place, one sitting in the assembly and one at the Centre”.

Speaking to the media following the court’s decision, Rohatgi said the Centre was happy with the latest development. “We are satisfied with the verdict of the high court,” Rohatgi said.

The Uttarakhand crisis

The Congress, which has ruled the state since four years, has claimed the support of its 27 MLAs plus another six from the PDF and one dissident BJP MLA. Nine Congress MLAs rebelled against their party and have joined hands with the BJP, which has 27 legislators.

Following the rebel MLAs breaking ranks, the Centre had imposed President’s Rule in the state on Sunday on grounds of “breakdown of Constitutional machinery”. Chief Minister Harish Rawat had moved court calling the Centre’s decision “arbitrary” and had demanded its quashing. Following an appeal made by his government, the High Court had ordered a test of strength to be scheduled for 31 March.

Uttarakhand political crisis: Centre challenges High Court’s order to carry out floor test

Dehradun: The Centre on Wednesday moved the Uttarakhand High Court challenging an interim order by a single bench directing a floor test in the Assembly on 31 March, days after President’s Rule was imposed in the state.

A petition was mentioned before a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bisht by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on behalf of the central government.

The petition sought clarity on whether the floor test can be held in the state Assembly after the promulgation of President’s rule when the House is in suspended animation.

File photo of Harish Rawat. IBN Live

File photo of Harish Rawat. IBN Live

After a two-day hearing on a writ petition challenging the imposition of President’s rule in the state, the single judge bench of Justice U C Dhyani in an interim order yesterday directed a floor test in the Assembly on 31 March and allowed even the nine disqualified rebel MLAs of the Congress to vote during the exercise.

Filed by former chief minister Harish Rawat through his counsel and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the writ petition has Union of India as the respondent.

PTI

Uttarakhand High Court orders floor test tomorrow

In a setback to the Centre, the Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test for the Harish Rawat government in the Assembly on March 31, giving a new turn to the political events in the state where President’s rule was imposed on Sunday.Considering the peculiarity of the situation, a single-judge bench made it clear that the only agenda for the day would be “the vote of confidence as directed by the governor by his earlier communication….. That is on that date the vote of confidence will be put to the floor test. “<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its short order, the court said all MLAs, including the nine ruling Congress rebels, can participate in the trial of strength but the votes of the disqualified legislators will be kept separate. They will be taken into account, subject to the final outcome of the writ petition filed by chief minister Harish Rawat, challenging the imposition of President’s rule.”This order shall be treated as notice for all MLAs to be present in the Assembly for the vote of confidence. No separate notice will be required to be sent to the MLAs,”Justice U C Dhyani said.The court requested the chief justice of the high court to appoint a registrar as observer for the floor test and directed the result “to be kept by the Speaker in a sealed cover and the same to be placed before the court on April 1.”It also ordered the chief secretary, home secretary and the director- general of police to ensure the security of the members in the Assembly when the floor test is carried out.Rawat’s government was sacked by the BJP-led NDA government on Sunday on the grounds of “breakdown of constitutional machinery.”Immediately, Rawat moved the high court at Nainital, calling the Centre’s decision as “arbitrary” and demanded its quashing. Appearing for the Congress, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that there is enough scope for judicial review to allow a floor test.He said governor K K Paul too had directed holding the floor test on March 28 and Rawat had also made the same demand twice and mere allegations of horse-trading cannot justify the imposition of President’s rule and stop a floor test.The political crisis in the state arose after nine Congress MLAs voted with the BJP against the appropriation Bill on March 18, which the speaker declared as passed, ignoring demands for division.Following this, speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal issued notices to the nine MLAs under the anti-defection law as to why they should not be disqualified. Even as there were reports that the rebels were disqualified, on Saturday night, the Union cabinet met and considered the governor’s report for imposition of President’s rule.

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