Uttarakhand political crisis: Congress moves court, Jaitley defends central rule

Dehradun: The political crisis in Uttarakhand showed no signs of ending with the Congress party moving the state high court on Monday against imposition of President's Rule as BJP leader and union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley justified central rule, saying the Congress government was "murdering democracy".

Meanwhile, a delegation led by ousted chief minister Harish Rawat met Governor K.K. Paul to protest against imposition of central rule in the hill state. 

Justice U.C. Dhyani of the Uttarakhand High Court has begun hearing a petition filed by the Congress against imposition of President's Rule. The petition has been moved by senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

"We have come to show our strength and protest against the decision taken against our government," Congress' Bajpur legislator Yashpal Arya said after party MLAs led by Rawat met the governor. He said the Rawat government should have been given time to prove its majority.

President's Rule was clamped on the state on Sunday, a day before Rawat was to seek a floor test in the assembly to prove he had the numbers. The Uttarakhand assembly has been kept in suspended animation with the proclamation of President's Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.

The Congress party has termed the move a "murder of democracy".

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley justified imposition of President's rule, saying Rawat should have quit as chief minister after failure of the Appropriation Bill.

In a Facebook post titled 'A State without a Budget', Jaitley wrote: "This leaves the State without any approved financial expenditure with effect from 1 April, 2016. What better evidence do we need of a breakdown of Constitution? The Congress government of Uttarakhand was murdering democracy every day from the 18 March till 27 March."

"Having plunged the state into a serious constitutional crisis by continuing a government which should have quit after the failure of the Appropriation Bill, and further complicating the crisis, the chief minister started allurement, horse-trading and disqualification with a view to altering the composition of the house," Jaitley said.

IANS