High Court axes President’s Rule in Uttarakhand 

Dehradun, April 21 (IANS) In a major blow to the central government, the Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday set aside President’s Rule imposed in the hill state last month.

After two consecutive days of hearing on a matter filed by ousted Congress chief minister Harish Rawat, the court said the proclamation of central rule in the state stood null and void.

The court said central rule should be clamped in a state as a last resort, suggesting this did not happen in Uttarakhand. It fixed April 29 for a floor test in the state assembly.

The ruling triggered noisy celebrations outside Rawat’s residence by Congress leaders and activists who shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Congress leader and former Uttarakhand finance minister Indira Hridayesh said her party “saluted the judiciary for upholding truth and law”.

“It is a victory for democracy,” the Congress said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also hailed the court decision.

“This is a huge embarrassment to the (Narendra) Modi government. He should stop interfering with elected governments and respect democracy,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader tweeted.

President’s Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27 after nine Congress legislators defected, depriving majority support in the assembly to the Rawat government.

Uttarakhand has got justice, says Rawat 

Dehradun, April 21 (IANS) Uttarakhand’s ousted Congress chief minister Harish Rawat on Thursday hailed the high court decision to axe President’s Rule in the state as a victory for the people.

“Uttarakhand has got justice,” a visibly pleased Rawat told the media shortly after the Uttarakhand High Court gave a ruling that is widely seen as a huge embarrassment to the Narendra Modi government.

“We welcome the high court decision. This is a victory for the people of Uttarakhand,” Rawat said, and urged the central government to stick to its stated policy of “cooperative federalism”.

After two consecutive days of hearing on a matter filed by Rawat, the court ruled that the proclamation of central rule in the state on March 27 stood null and void.

The court said central rule should be clamped in a state only as a last resort and called for a floor test on April 29 in the Uttarakhand assembly to decide whether or not Rawat enjoys majority support.

“The people of Uttarakhand have a right to govern themselves,” Rawat added. “On behalf of all the secular forces, we want to thank the judiciary for healing our wounds.”

Rawat urged the central government “even now” to cooperate with the state government and to help overcome the wounds caused by his sacking.

“Let us resume with a spirit of cooperation. I urge all my colleagues to forgive and forget.”

“We are not talking about fighting,” the Congress leader said, when asked about the possibility of the central government appealing against the high court decision in the Supreme Court.

“They are ‘mahabali’, they are powerful people,” he said of the central government. “Let us begin a new phase if you are sincere about cooperative federalism.”

Rawat specifically thanked all the legislators of the Congress who stood by him during the political crisis, “not falling for the many allurements extended to them”.

“Uttarakhand has got justice. Democratic aspirations have won.”

He declined to comment on the nine rebel Congress legislators whose desertion sparked the crisis for Rawat. He, however, took potshots at the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“The whole country knows who were behind the political instability in Uttarakhand. The BJP is becoming irrelevant in the state.”

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