President’s Rule in Uttarakhand assault on democracy: CPI-M

New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) The imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand and the dismissal of the Harish Rawat government “is a blatant attack on democracy”, the CPI-M said on Thursday.

“Coming after the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, the (Narendra) Modi government has shown that it will … topple non-BJP state governments, utilising any opportunity available,” said an editorial in the CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy”.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist said Article 356 of the constitution had been a weapon in the hands of the central government to arbitrarily dismiss elected state governments and to advance the political interests of the ruling party at the centre.

“A patently undemocratic and authoritarian clause, Article 356 requires only a report from the governor to say that there has been a breakdown in the constitutional machinery in the state.

“The central government has used pliable governors appointed by it to get such reports whenever required and act upon it.” it said.

The CPI-M reiterated its demand that the Article 356 should be scrapped and replaced with a suitable clause which will not give the freedom to the central government to act arbitrarily.

The CPI-M pointed out that President’s Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand a day before the chief minister was to test his majority on the floor of the assembly.

The nine Congress legislators who had defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party had been disqualified by the speaker under the anti-defection law.

“When it became clear that the chief minister would get a majority in the house after this disqualification, the union cabinet hurriedly met the day before the vote and recommended imposition of President’s Rule.

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