BJP says SC's stay on the Uttarakhand high court order has ‘halted’ the piquant situation created in the state.
Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Friday said the Supreme Court’s interim order has prevented the Modi government from revoking President’s rule and hoisting an ‘illegitimate’ government in the state.
"This interim order has done a good thing and acknowledged that President’s rule cannot be revoked midway till the Court decides on it. The court has prevented any attempt of forging a majority (by the Bharatiya Janata Party) and revoking President’s rule to force an illegitimate government on the state," he said.
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed till April 27 the Uttarakhand high court verdict and restored President’s rule in the state. The high court had on Thursday set aside President’s rule and restored the Harish Rawat government.
Rawat told reporters that he would abide by the apex court’s order with humility and respect, hoping it decides the issue on merits soon to end political instability that has hampered state’s development.
The Congress leader said it is an interim order that is applicable only till April 27.
“We accept the verdict with humility and respect. Yesterday, also we had accepted the judgement with humility and thanked the court. Today, if there is an interim order, we still thank the Supreme Court for it. We are not like the BJP that praises it if it suits them and say ‘let hell beset them’ when it does not favour us,” he said.
Asked if he was disheartened with the court direction, he said, “We are not. We are all together. Finally, the real fight will take place in the court of people. Whatever will happen will be what God wants. We are confident of winning on both counts (court and people’s court).”
He, however, urged the Supreme Court to decide the matter on merit at an early date so that the state does not suffer any more, saying political instability has posed a serious crisis to the state’s development.
“Our wish as a former chief minister is that the issue should be decided by the Supreme Court as early as possible, so that the clouds of uncertainty are removed.”
Rawat said he was ready for all such changes and he had already asked his partymen to be prepared for it. “This is a procedure. Till the matter is finally decided by Supreme Court, such stages will keep coming. Yesterday, I had said we should be prepared for all such changes,” he said.
Rawat said, ‘in simple terms, I was yesterday established as chief minister by the high court and before that I was a dismissed chief minister. Today, with the Supreme Court order I am a former chief minister.’
Rawat said, “We want this issue be decided on merit. It should be decided soon because there has been political instability in our state for some time due to which development is being hampered. Overall, there is a serious crisis over the state’s development.”
The former chief minister recalled that there were some pressing issues that required immediate attention and included the smooth conduct of ‘Char Dham yatra’, addressing forest fires and an impending water crisis due to drying up water reserves.
“These are some challenges waiting to be addressed seriously and we do not want political uncertainty in the state to come come in the way of handling them, otherwise the state’s reputation may be affected. We have seen what ill-effect the state has faced due to political instability,” Rawat said.
He said since the state has suffered a lot due to the uncertainty prevailing in the last two months and many of government’s schemes envisaged in the past have suffered.
“We have analysed the whole situation and our colleagues have felt that we have to work harder. The crucial one month loss due to which the state’s development has suffered, we have to bring it back on track and the chief minister and ministers have to work a lot harder. We have prepared an action plan for it, so that the state’s development does not suffer further,” he said.
The BJP, meanwhile, said the Supreme Court’s stay on the Uttarakhand high court order has ‘halted’ the piquant situation created in the state and claimed Congress has much to answer for the political crisis there.
“There was a piquant situation created by the high court order and a prayer was made to the Supreme Court for a stay on its operation and restoring the situation where the governor was in charge of the state.
“It (Supreme Court’s) is definitely an important order because it halts the piquant situation created in Uttarakhand whereby the Chief Minister immediately and without an order in writing available called a Cabinet meeting and started taking decisions,” party spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.
Kohli is also a member of the legal team representing the Centre in the case.
The apex court has obviously appreciated the Centre’s arguments and that is why it stayed the high court order’s operation till the next date of hearing on April 27.
He said Rawat and Congress will have to answer a lot of questions as he accused the former chief minister of suppressing the fact that 27 MLAs of BJP in the state had demanded in writing a division of votes on March 18 over the passage of Appropriation bill in the assembly.
Rawat’s counsel later admitted to it, he said.
BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi also dismissed Congress’s charge that the BJP was behind the rebellion in its ranks and saying the Opposition party has always faced desertion by its senior leaders whenever it was out of power in the Centre.
“Congress breaks whenever it is not in power,” he claimed.
He cited a number of examples, including the decision to then senior party leaders Arjun Singh and N D Tiwari to float a new party when Congress was out of power during 1998-2004.