Dehradun/New Delhi, Mar 20: Uttarakhand Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal has issued notices to nine rebel Congress MLAs asking them why they should not be disqualified from the House even as Arun Jaitley and Rahul Gandhi sparred over the political crisis in the hill state.
Main opposition BJP has, meanwhile, claimed that 35 MLAs including 26 from the party and nine from Congress had already given a notice for a no-confidence motion against the Speaker to the Vidhan Sabha Secretary for his alleged failure to conduct the House in an impartial manner even before he issued the notices to the rebel Congress MLAs.
Chief Minister Harish Rawat while training his guns on the BJP said they are "killing" democracy. "BJP party with the support of their party at Centre is trying to destabilise the state governments. They are killing democracy. They talk about cooperative federalism and they are targeting the opposition governments selectively," he said.
Notices have been issued to the nine rebel Congress MLAs following a request from party chief whip and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hridayesh seeking action against them for violating the party whip in the state Assembly during voting on the Finance Bill.
The notices have been pasted on the walls of the houses of the MLAs concerned which asks them to submit their replies to the Speaker by March 26 evening. However, Pradesh BJP president and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ajay Bhatt said as a notice of no-confidence has already been moved against the Speaker he should quit his post.
Using the Uttarakhand crisis to escalate his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP, Rahul Gandhi said it has exposed the "true face of Modiji's BJP" and that "toppling" governments by "blatant use of money" seems to be the ruling party's new model.
"Toppling elected Govts by indulging in horse trading & blatant misuse of money & muscle, seems to be BJP's new model, after failure in Bihar".
"Congress Party will fight demagoguery with democracy. This attack on our democracy & Constitution, first in Arunachal & now Uttarakhand, is the true face of Modiji's BJP," the Congress Vice President said in a series of tweets.
Senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley blamed the Congress for the crisis, claiming there is "deep division" and said it cannot be attributable to the BJP.
"There is a deep division in the Congress in Uttarakhand... it cannot be attributable to the BJP," Jaitley told reporters in Delhi. The Congress had earlier accused the BJP of engineering split in the party. Jaitley said that a majority of MLAs voted against the controversial Finance bill but the Speaker declared it passed.
"In Uttarakhand, Speaker considered a failed bill as passed. This is happening for the first time in the country," he said. Chief Minister Rawat said the BJP strategy to topple his government is a type of an encounter and referred to how police horse Shaktiman was brutally attacked during a protest by BJP workers in Dehradun and had its hind leg amputated.
"First they broke the leg of the horse and now by doing horse trading, they want to break the leg of Uttarakhand." Before the crisis unfolded, the Congress had 36 MLAs in the 70-member Assembly. The ruling party also has the support of 6 members of the Progressive Democratic Front, while opposition BJP has 28 MLAs.