In a clear fallout over the rebellion by the nine MLAs, the Uttarakhand Congress on Monday expelled former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saket for anti-party activities.
Saket Bahuguna and Anil Gupta were expelled from the party for six years. The Congress accuses Saket Bahuguna of “masterminding” the rebellion.
Congress state spokesman Mathura Dutt Joshi said, “The disciplinary committee of the Congress Party noted the recent activities of the two senior leaders. It found that both Saket and Anil had supported the rebel MLAs and were involved in anti-party activities.”
The Congress had earlier dissolved all nine district units of the party in the state.
The BJP was supported by Congress rebels when it had demanded a division or physical counting of votes on the finance bill, but the Speaker did not allow it and declared the bill passed by a voice vote.
Meanwhile, rebel Congress MLA Harak Singh Rawat has written to Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul, urging him to call an Assembly Session on Tuesday for the floor test.
The Congress says the nine rebels must be disqualified from the Assembly under anti-defection laws. At least two-thirds of a party – in this case 24 Congress MLAs – must split for them to be recognised as a separate group.
The loss of nine lawmakers will reduce the Congress government to a minority. The party has 36 lawmakers in the 70-member Assembly, only one more than the halfway mark needed for a majority. It also has the support of six members of the Progressive Democratic Front.
Saket, the son of Vijay Bahuguna, was the party candidate from Tehri Lok Sabha seat during the by-poll in 2012. However, he was defeated by BJP nominee Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Saket was again given Congress ticket but he suffered a crushing defeat by Shah.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has been asked by party vice president Rahul Gandhi to stay there and handle the situation there.
The Congress government in Uttarakhand is facing a major crisis with 9 MLAs rebelling against Rawat and the BJP, which has 27 MLAs, staking claim to form the government.