Uttarakhand politicians cross fingers ahead of floor test

Dehradun, May 10 (IANS) Political tensions in Uttarakhand ran high on Tuesday morning ahead of the crucial floor test in the assembly to ascertain if ousted chief minister Harish Rawat enjoys a legislative majority.

According to officials, prohibitory orders were clamped around the assembly premises. Rawat reached the assembly in the morning and personally supervised the entry of all Congress legislators.

Escorted by some of his ministerial colleagues, Rawat was seen smiling as legislators emerged out of their cars. He also ushered in the four PDF legislators, who are said to supporting him.

Rekha Arya, one of the Congress lawmakers emerged out of a car and mingled with BJP legislators who came in groups and stood at the state assembly building gate where they were welcomed by Rawat himself.

The floor test is being conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Uttarakhand has been under President’s Rule since March 27 when the Congress government was dismissed by the central government citing mis-governance in the hill state.

President’s Rule would be lifted for two hours, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

The 70-member Uttarakhand assembly has been reduced to only 62 — including one nominated member — after the Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of nine Congress rebel legislators. The halfway mark to majority is 31. The Congress has 27 members and the BJP 28. There are six from the PDF. Their vote would be crucial for Rawat to win the vote.

Both BJP and Congress claim the support of two BSP legislators. But the party has maintained its suspense over whom to support. Senior Uttar Pradesh leader of the BSP, Naseem-ud-din Siddiqui, was in Uttarakhand on Monday.

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