Rawat, BJP spar in Uttarakhand ,Cong leader claims MLAs threatened

Rawat, BJP spar in Uttarakhand ,Cong leader claims MLAs threatened

Rawat, BJP spar in Uttarakhand ,Cong leader claims MLAs threatened

Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat today accused BJP of threatening Congress and PDF MLAs and urged the Governor to provide security to them while BJP lashed out at the Congress leader, demanding legal action against him for his "unconstitutional" step of taking charge as CM without a written order from the High Court.

"BJP leaders are building an atmosphere of animosity and bitterness in the state. They are even issuing threats to Congress and PDF MLAs. I have urged the Governor to make security arrangements for them," Rawat told reporters at Bijapur State Guest House.

The six-member Progressive Democratic Front (PDF), a combination of BSP, UKD and Independent MLAs, was a part of Rawat government and has stood by him during the current political crisis in the state.

Countering BJP leaders' claims that they had the numbers required for government formation, Rawat said MLAs supporting them should come out openly.

"They should openly state whether they are poaching MLAs or engineering another defection in Congress with money power," Rawat said.

BJP, however, attacked Rawat for "hurriedly" taking charge as CM and convening two cabinet meetings to take policy decisions even before a written order of the Uttarakhand high Court quashing President's rule in the state could reach the Centre and the Governor.

A BJP delegation led by its state unit president Ajay Bhatt met Governor K K Paul and demanded appropriate legal action against Rawat, claiming his actions were "unconstitutional".

The delegation also demanded annulment of policy decisions taken by Rawat after his brief "reinstatement" as CM which came to an end with the Supreme Court putting a stay on the high court's verdict yesterday.

The party's main contention was that Rawat went against parliamentary norms by assuming charge even before getting a signed copy of the high court's order.

Rawat, however, dismissed the charge saying if the Centre can go to the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the high court's order without having a written copy of it why can't he assume charge as CM without the same document.  

"The High Court pronounced a judgement revoking President's rule in the state and restoring my government in an open court," Rawat said.

"I took charge as CM in compliance with the high court order and took decisions which were in the interest of the people of the state.

"If the Centre can go to the Supreme Court challenging the High Court's order without a written copy of it why can't I assume office without it," he said reacting to BJP's demand for legal action action against him and annulment of policy decisions taken by him at the two Cabinet meetings.

Rawat went on to say that if he gets an opportunity like this again, he will take "more decisions in the interest of the people of the state than this time".

About half a dozen decisions taken by Rawat at two Cabinet meetings held between late Thursday night and Friday include reappointment of guest teachers which had been revoked by the Governor, hiking their monthly pay to Rs 15,000, setting up a committee to look into reduction of land circle rates, a pension of Rs 3,100 for identified statehood agitationists, an increase of Rs 200 in the pensions of widows, old women and the handicapped.

Terming the decisions as "populist", BJP said they had been taken in a hurry by Rawat with an eye on assembly polls.

In a lighter vein, Rawat said "as retirement has been forced" on him, he will utilise the time at his disposal to create awareness among people against the culture of defection.

He said he will launch a padyatra from Haridwar's Daksha Mandir on April 25 on the issue.  
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