Harish Rawat Warns Modi


New Delhi: “Sometimes even an ant can trouble an elephant,” Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said today, targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, hours after appearing before the CBI in the sting CD case involving him.

“We are not here to fight against Modiji or (BJP chief) Amit Shah. But if they keep pinching us, then they should not forget that sometimes even ant can trouble an elephant,” Mr Rawat said addressing his supporters in New Delhi.

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Though insisting that he did not want a confrontation with the Centre as he was “more concerned about the development of my state”, Mr Rawat, who was reinstated as Chief Minister following a court-ordered floor test in the legislative Assembly, however, said the Modi government is trying to achieve “what it could not” by getting a CBI probe instituted against him.

“We chose to respect the CBI probe. We could have taken a stand (against the probe) for the government which had transferred the matter to CBI wasn’t an elected government, it was a decision taken during President’s Rule. And what is President’s Rule? Centre’s rule. And Centre only has asked its agency to probe the matter,” Mr Rawat told the gathering at his 9, Trimurti Lane residence.

Mr Rawat said after its Uttarakhand debacle, the Centre will think twice before imposing President’s Rule in any state.

He said his government wants an “atmosphere of cooperation” to prevail with the Centre and that he does not intend to “challenge the authority of the Prime Minister”.

Mr Rawat said he will appear before the CBI again on June 7 and “present my side of the story before the agency”.

The Congress leader said it was “unfortunate” that he had to appear before the CBI when he was supposed to be back in the state monitoring the situation after yesterday’s landslide which claimed 12 lives.

CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on April 29 to probe the sting operation in which Mr Rawat was purportedly shown negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel Congress legislators ahead of the floor test.

Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul had recommended a CBI probe when the state government was under President’s Rule. However, days after Mr Rawat’s reinstatement, the state Cabinet met under Indira Hridayesh and decided to withdraw the notification recommending CBI inquiry. The premier investigative agency, however, decided to proceed with the investigation, claiming legal opinion obtained by it was in its favour.