DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand Speaker, Govind Singh Kunjwal, on Sunday disqualified nine Congress legislators, who had rebelled against the former chief minister Harish Rawat-led government in the state.
The decision to disqualify the nine legislators would reduce the effective strength of the 70-member assembly to 61.
"I have taken a decision to disqualify nine party (Congress) MLAs from the assembly under anti-defection law in view of the petition filed by Uttarakhand Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hridayesh," said Kunjwal.
The development comes even as President's Rule was imposed in the state on Sunday following recommendation from the Union government.
As of now the Harish Rawat government is to face confidence motion in the Assembly on Monday.
The rebel Congress legislators on Saturday released a sting video of Rawat and alleged he was indulging in horse-trading to save his government. The video purportedly showed him bargaining with rebel party lawmakers to win their support ahead of the floor test on Monday.
Reacting to the video, the BJP demanded President's Rule in the state, saying Rawat has no right to continue.
A recommendation to impose President's rule was made during an emergency cabinet meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday night. President Pranab Mukherjee gave his nod in this regard on Sunday.
Kunjwal, however, said that the Assembly would function as usual until he received an official letter from the Governor KK Paul.
"Business advisory committee's meeting was conducted and in that we have decided upon tomorrow's work. If we do not receive any official letter from the governor regarding this (imposition of President's rule), Assembly will work as scheduled," said Kunjwal.
This move comes as a major setback to the Congress as Arunachal Pradesh was also put under President's Rule in January after dissent from some party legislators. However, the province got a new government under one of the rebel legislators, who was sworn in as the state chief last month.