Uttarkhand Governor K.K. Paul on Saturday asked Chief Minister Harish Rawat to prove his majority by March 28 even as the BJP sought dismissal of the minority Congress government while opposition parties accused it of horse-trading.
Rawat claimed he that he had a majority and would prove it on the floor of the house while the governor accepted his recommendation to dismiss rebel minister Harak Singh Rawat, who held the agriculture portfolio.
In sudden political drama in the hill state on Friday evening, nine Congress legislators walked into the camp of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and demanded a vote division on the budget, a demand rejected by the speaker.
Rawat also said that five of the rebels were in touch with him and in case they regretted having revolted against the party, they might be pardoned by the high command.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of trying to topple an elected government.
The BJP rubbished allegations of indulging in horse-trading and challenged the chief minister to prove his majority.
“Allegations of horse-trading are ridiculous. The legislators of Congress have revolted against the functioning of Rawat and his dictatorial attitude,” BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya told reporters in New Delhi.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that the BJP was indulging in horse-trading in Uttarakhand.
Vijayvargiya however said the Congress leaders, who have revolted against the chief minister, are not those who can be bought for money.
“Vijay Bahuguna is among the rebel Congress leaders. He was the chief minister of the state. What does Congress want to say? Do they mean Vijay Bahuguna is for sale?” he said.
He also challenged Rawat to prove his majority. “If voting could have taken place in assembly yesterday (Friday), he would have known his strength. I challenge him to prove his majority on any forum.”
He also said the anti-defection law against the rebel Congress leaders would not stand because the BJP had already moved a no-confidence motion against the speaker.
Viyajvargiya also claimed to have the support of 35 legislators in the 70-member assembly. “We have support of 35 MLAs and are waiting for the governor’s response.”
“We are ready to form the government as well as to face fresh elections,” he said.
BJP secretary Srikant Sharma said Congress government should be dismissed.
“The governor should dismiss the Rawat government in Uttarakhand. It has no moral right to remain in power as it has lost the confidence of its MLAs,” Sharma told reporters in New Delhi.