Rebels should Make Sonia and Rahul Gandhi Worried

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In a span of two months Uttarakhand is the second Congress ruled state that witnessed revolt by members of legislative assembly. The first state was Arunachal Pradesh.

Today Arunachal Pradesh has Congress rebel Kalikho Pul as Chief Minister and his government is supported by BJP.

rahul gandhi

Uttarakhand witnessed political drama when Congress rebels voted with BJP against the state budget. CM Rawat along with Speaker Govind Singh Kunjal however claimed that the budget was passed by the voice vote.

History of Uttarakhand crisis:

27 BJP MLAs along with nine Congress rebel MLAs met Governor K K Paul at the Raj Bhavan in Dehradun and stated that Harish Rawat Government of the state should be removed.

Next day CM Harish Rawat met the Governor and stated that his government enjoyed majority in Uttarakhand's 71 member Assembly. One member in the Assembly is nominated member.

Before the rebels broke off from Congress this were the numbers in Uttarakhand Assembly:

Congress - 36 MLAs

Progressive Democratic Front - 6 MLAs (they support Congress)

BJP - 28 MLAs

On the 20th of March Governor gave nine days' time to CM Rawat to prove his majority in the Assembly.

Congress leaders cried foul and blamed BJP leader Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for toppling the Congress governments. All India Congress Committee General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala was quoted to say that, "The duo of Modi and Shah is infamous for forcible eviction of elected governments. Elected governments are being destabilised by a sinister conspiracy. After Arunachal Pradesh, it is Uttarakhand."

Minister of Telecommunication Ravi Shankar Prasad in reply to the allegations of Congress had said that, "If the Congress cannot keep its flock together, it is not the fault of the BJP".

For anti-party activities and master minding the rebellion, Congress expelled Saket Bahuguna, who was one of the nine rebels, for six years on the 21st of March. Saket Bahuguna is the son of former chief minister of Vijay Bahuguna.

On the 22nd of March BJP delegation and Congress delegations separately met President Pranab Mukherjee and requested him to intervene and solve the crisis. BJP delegation requested President to direct the Governor of Uttarakhand to immediately dismiss the government while Congress delegation requested President to allow Harish Rawat government a chance to prove its majority in the Assembly.

Congress also alleged that Congress MLAs were taken to Governor's house against their will by the BJP MLAs.

On the 26th March Harak Singh who is one of the Congress rebel MLAs presented a video that allegedly showed CM Rawat discussing particular figures in an alleged effort to win back rebel MLAs to prove his majority on the 28th of March. Congress dismissed the sting video as absolutely fake.

On the 27th March rebel MLAs were disqualified under anti-defection law. With the disqualification the number of members in Uttarakhand Assembly came down to 61 of which only 27 are from Congress. President's Rule was imposed in the state a day before Harish Rawat was to prove his majority in the Assembly.

Harish Rawat had this to say about the rebel Harak Singh, "I tried to control him on many occasions and that is why he became rebellious". Mr. Rawat also expressed regret that he could not muster the courage to sack Harak Singh.

Mr. Rawat then approached the Uttarakhand High Court in Nainital and sought reply as to how can Central government bring the state under President's Rule.

President's Rule in Uttarakhand:

President's Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on Sunday and it was welcomed by the Congress' rebel MLAs and BJP.

Uttarakhand Government led by Harish Rawat fell on 18th March when the Appropriation Bill was not passed as Congress rebels voted with BJP against the Bill. It was also noted that during the official proceedings 35 MLAs out of 67 MLAs present in the Assembly sought to vote but were denied.

What does Constitution state:

As per Constitution any government is said to have fallen if it is not able to pass budget or any other money bill. As per the Constitution it would mean that the government has lost confidence of the House and it has been reduced to minority and so can't continue to be in power.

What did BJP-Congress rebels do:

It was for the first time that rebels from a ruling party and opposition joined hands to bring down a state government.

Rawat on his miracle budget for Uttarakhand:

Harish Rawat after the imposition of President's Rule addressed a press conference and said that BJP and Union Government led by Narendra Modi were desperate to bring down his government as he had prepared an excellent annual budget for the state and that it would have solved all the issues faced by the state would have been solved.

This however seems to be a tall tale as his state is to go to polls next year and elections will be announced for the state by early or mid December 2016.

Controversy about the Appropriation Bill:

CM and Speaker of Uttarakhand say that Congress MLAs voted for the Appropriation Bill by voice vote. Question that arises post such a statement is that if the Bill was passed why it was not sent to the Governor for his signature and seal.

Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley said that, "It is to be noted that till today, neither the Chief Minister nor the Speaker have forwarded a certified copy of the Appropriation Bill to the Governor. Obviously, there is no assent of the Governor to the Appropriation Bill. In any case, all facts surrounding the alleged discussion and passage of the Appropriation Bill clearly indicate its non-passage.....There are strong facts to suggest that the Appropriation Bill was actually defeated. As a consequence, the Government had to resign. Two further consequences flow out of this. Firstly, the Appropriation Bill sanctioning expenditure from 1 April 2016 was not approved and, secondly, if the Appropriation Bill was defeated, the continuation of the Government subsequent to 18 March 2016 is unconstitutional."

Consequence of Appropriation Bill not passing:

As the Appropriation Bill has not been passed by the Uttarakhand Assembly it means that from the 1st of April 2016 the state government can't spend any money as budgeted. This would mean the entire state machinery would come to a halt.

Now that the President's Rule has been imposed in Uttarakhand under Article 356 the Union Government will have to make provisions for Uttarakhand under Article 37 for the state.

Will Sonia and Rahul Gandhi be able to save Uttarakhand's Congress Government:

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have a chance when the President's Rule comes for ratification in Parliament as in Rajya Sabha BJP is in minority.

However, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi need to think as to what is prompting rebels like Vijay Bahuguna, Harak Singh Rawat and Subodh Uniyal to join hands with BJP.

All these rebel leaders have been publicly saying for past few days that despite all the attempts to meet Rahul Gandhi they have not been able to meet him as they were not given an appointment to meet him. They wanted to meet Congress Vice President and seek his intervention in the affairs of Uttarakhand.

Worth noting thing here is that rebel leaders who broke off from Congress Arunachal Pradesh and formed government with BJP support also made similar accusations against Rahul Gandhi.

BJP will be thankful to Rahul Gandhi for not learning any lesson from Arunachal Pradesh experience and repeating the same mistake when rebels from Uttarakhand tried to reach him.

If the grapevines are to be believed Manipur Government of Okram Obobi Singh is soon to go Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand way.

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