Uttarakhand assembly speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal disqualified on Thursday two legislators from the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP for cross-voting in a Supreme Court-monitored trust vote last month. A Congress victory in the cliffhanger floor test on May 10 reinstated the Harish Rawat government in the hill state, which was placed under President’s Rule by the BJP-led Centre that faced criticism over alleged attempts to topple elected governments in opposition-ruled states. The voting began amid dramatic circumstances with rebel BJP legislator Bhim Lal Arya switching over to the Congress side, while Congress MLA Rekha Arya crossed over to the BJP.
The legislators were disqualified under the anti-defection law for voting against their parties during the May 10 floor test. Kunjwal said, “Enough time was given to both MLAs to respond to the show-cause notices issued to them by their parties. After examining the evidence, there was no doubt in my mind that both MLAs had violated the whip and voted against their parties on May 10,” said Kunjwal. The disqualification comes two days before the Rajya Sabha election to be held on June 11 in which both MLAs will not be able to vote.
Now, the strength of the BJP in the Legislative Assembly has been reduced to 27 while that of the Congress to 26 (without the PDF). Along with the PDF the Congress has a strength of 32 MLAs who helped the Chief Minister win the vote of confidence. Now, the total strength of MLAs in the the Assembly is 61.