Congress moves HC against President's rule in Uttarakhand

The Congress party moved the Nainital High Court today against the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand.

Harish RawatThe Bharatiya Janata Party-led union government cited a constitutional breakdown in the state while imposing President's rule on Sunday, a day before chief minister Harish Rawat was to take a floor test in the state assembly to prove his majority.

The Congress had said on Sunday it will challenge the decision in court and show that the Narendra Modi dispensation at the centre is out to ''destabilise'' governments in all the states not ruled by his party.

Senior party leader Kapil Sibal had said that President's rule was imposed a day before the floor test as the Centre knew that chief minister Harish Rawat would be able to prove his majority.

''We will explain the law to them in court. We will show the court that the people in the central government are the ones responsible for destabilising every state which is under Congress rule because their policy is to have 'Congress mukt Bharat','' he had said.

As Congress cried ''murder of democracy'' after losing power in the second state after Arunachal Pradesh, union finance minister Arun Jaitley countered by accusing the state government of ''murdering'' provisions of the Constitution every day since 18 March when it ''lost'' its majority in the assembly.

Speaking to the media shortly after President's Rule was imposed in the hill state, he said there were ''cogent, relevant and extremely important grounds'' on which the union cabinet came to the decision.

''It was not only appropriate but the demand of the time that such an immoral government did not continue in Uttarakhand which has lost its majority. There was complete breakdown of the Constitution in Uttarakhand,'' he said.

Citing other reasons for dismissing the government, he spoke about the ''hard evidence'' of Rawat offering allurements to win over MLAs to change the composition of house, and discriminatory use of anti-defection law by the speaker with regard to his action against rebel MLAs of BJP and Congress.

Jaitley said Governor Paul had also mentioned that he had ''serious doubts'' over what happened in the assembly on 18 March and said his report played a key role in the cabinet's decision.

Asked about criticism, especially by BJP, of the governor's decision to give Rawat nine days to prove his majority, he said there was no reason for him to arrive at such a conclusion after going through his report.

The governor had repeatedly asked the chief minister to convene the assembly in two-three days for a floor test but Rawat deliberately prolonged it by insisting that he would do so only on 28 March, Jaitley said.

''He wanted to use the time period for allurement, horse-trading to change the composition of the House... During each of the nine days, provisions of the Constitution were violated,'' the Union minister said.

About the sting operation against Rawat, he said, ''This is the first time that there is hard evidence about horse-trading by a chief minister who has been caught on camera.''

On the Congress charge that BJP was destabilising its governments, he said the opposition party should put its house in order as it was a crisis created by Congress itself.

''There was rebellion in Congress as the party high command had been refusing to even meet their leaders,'' he said.