Official results will be available only on May 11, though sources in the Congress claim to have got 34 of the 61 votes.
New Delhi: The Harish Rawat-led Congress government comfortably made it through the Uttarakhand assembly floor test on Tuesday, informal reports say, though the official results will be announced by the Supreme Court only on May 11.
Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi have called it a “victory of democracy” and sources from the Congress have reportedly claimed to have won 33 of the 61 votes. An independent MLA who supported the Congress also corroborated these numbers, though some TV channels gave the figure in favour of Rawat as 34. All 62 Uttarakhand MLAs were present and the speaker did not exercise his vote. Voting took place through a show of hands.
Under the Supreme Court-monitored proceedings, the result of the vote will be given to the court on May 11 morning in a sealed envelope.
Though not revealing any details, chief minister Harish Rawat said, “I thank the SC, democratic forces, people of Uttarakhand and gods. Uttarakhand will be victorious tomorrow. I hope clouds of uncertainty over the state will disappear and things will be clearer.”
BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi conceded the BJP’s loss saying that Rawat won on money power. He called it a “sad day for democracy”. He added that it was a constitutional victory because nine MLAs of the Congress had voted for the BJP in the past and now one more MLA voted for the party.
Independent MLA Harish Chandra Durgapal claimed that all six PDF (two BSP, one UKD and three independents) members voted for Rawat.
The principal secretary (legislative assembly and parliamentary affairs) of the Uttarakhand government oversaw the conduct of the floor test for which president’s rule was paused for two-and-a-half hours from 10.30 am.
Earlier on May 10, Mayawati openly announced that the state’s two BSP MLAs would vote in favour of Rawat. She added that the reports claiming she had made a deal with the BJP were false. “The BSP’s stand has always been to weaken the communal forces”, she told reporters.
‘Aya Arya, gaya Arya’
A defection each was reported from both the Congress and the BJP, with rebel BJP MLA Bhimraj Arya voting in favour of Rawat and Congress MLA Rekha Arya voting against the Congress government. This was expected this morning, when both MLAs arrived with others from the opposing side.
The nine rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified from being a part of the floor test when the Uttarakhand high court did not dismiss the speaker’s decision yesterday. The rebel MLAs then appealed to the Supreme Court, but the apex court upheld the high court order. The number of votes in Rawat’s favour indicates the difference their votes would have made in the process.
The Supreme Court ordered a floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly on May 6. The court had directed the nine rebel Congress MLAs, who had already challenged their disqualification by the speaker in the high court, to not participate in the floor test “if they have the same status” at the time of vote of confidence.
The political crisis in Uttarakhand began on March 18 this year, when the nine rebelMLAs voted with the BJP against the ‘Appropriation Bill’. Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal declared the bill to be passed, ignoring demands from some MLAs for a division of votes.
On March 27, president’s rule was imposed in the state. This move was quashed by the high court, though the Supreme Court then went on the extend a stay on the high court order against president’s rule for a floor test in the assembly.