NEW DELHI: Union Cabinet met here tonight to consider the situation in Uttarakhand amidst speculation that it may consider the option of President's Rule in the state.
The Cabinet met soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned from Assam. Ahead of the meeting, a BJP delegation met President Pranab Mukherjee and demanded President's Rule in the state, saying Chief Minister Harish Rawat has no right to continue after a sting operation purportedly showed him bargaining with rebel party MLAs to win their support ahead of floor test on March 28.
BJP's memorandum to the President was also critical of state Governor K K Paul, saying he "did not act on the request of the majority of the legislature to dismiss the state government and on the contrary granted 10 days time" to Rawat to prove his majority.
The rebel Congress MLAs today alleged that they were offered bribe by the Chief Minister for support during the floor test in the Assembly on March 28 and released a video of a "sting" operation purportedly showing the CM, who called it "fake".
The deadline given to the nine rebel MLAs for replying to the notices served to them by Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal under the anti-defection law came to an end this evening. Congress alleged that the "dirty tricks department" of BJP president Amit Shah is at work, while the saffron outfit demanded "immediate dismissal" of the Rawat government.
All eyes are on the Speaker's decision which will be crucial to the fate of Harish Rawat government facing a difficult confidence vote in the Assembly on Monday. If the MLAs are disqualified by the Speaker under the anti-defection law they will cease to be members of the House reducing its effective strength from 70 to 61 which may make its easier for Rawat to scrape through the floor test with 27 MLAs of the Congress and six of ruling ally Progressive Democratic Front.
The Speaker had issued notices to the nine rebel Congress MLAs on March 19, a day after they created a furore in the state assembly along with opposition BJP members shouting anti-government slogans after their demand for a division of votes on the appropriation bill on the state's annual budget was turned down by the Speaker.