Uttarakhand Floor Test Ends

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New Delhi:  Amid tight security, a floor test was held today in the Uttarakhand Assembly to ascertain whether ousted Congress chief minister Harish Rawat still enjoys a majority in the House.

In addition to Rawat himself claiming victory, an opposition lawmaker also indicated that Rawat will return as chief minister.

Of course, officially, the result of today’s confidence vote will be presented only tomorrow – in a sealed envelope – to the Supreme Court.

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“The cloud of uncertainty hovering over Uttarakhand will disappear tomorrow,” the former CM said after voting in the assembly.

A BJP lawmaker said only 28 MLAs voted for the BJP in the 61-member House.

Just before the voting began BSP chief Mayawati said her party will be supporting the Congress party. Separately, Congress MLA Rekha Arya said she would support the BJP, while BJP MLA Bhim Lal Arya said he would support the Congress.

President’s Rule was kept in abeyance for the duration of the floor test that began at 11am. The proceedings were video-graphed. The result of today’s confidence vote will be presented tomorrow, in a sealed cover, to the Supreme Court.

The Uttarakhand Assembly has 70 members. Excluding the nine rebel MLAs, the Congress has 27 members. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 28 members and there are six lawmakers from other parties.Ousted chief minister Rawat will need at least 31 members to claim a majority on the floor.

“Uttarakhand will win today,” Rawat said, ahead of the floor test.”We’re in complete majority. We have numbers. We’ll prove majority,” said Indira Hridayesh, another Congess leader, before the trust voted began.
The nine rebel MLAs, who have been disqualified, weren’t allowed to vote in the floor test. The Supreme Court yesterday rejected their plea against disqualification after the Uttarakhand High Court did the same.

The apex court had said Tuesday’s voting will be overseen by the Principal Secretary (Legislative Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs) of the state.

Uttarakhand plunged into a political crisis when nine Congress legislators, including former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, revolted against their own government during a debate over an Appropriation Bill on March 18 during the Budget Session of the Assembly.

The Centre then imposed President’s Rule in Uttarakhand on March 27 saying Rawat lost his majority when the nine Congress legislators rebelled. Thereafter, the Speaker disqualified the nine Congress rebels under the Anti-Defection law.