Congress expels Vijay Bahuguna’s son for anti-party activities

Dehradun/New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) The Congress on Monday expelled former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna’s son Saket Bahuguna and party joint secretary Anil Gupta for six years for “anti-party” activities as the political crisis in the Uttarakhand government deepened.

Saket Bahuguna, a two-time Lok Sabha candidate from Tehri, was among the nine legislators who rebelled against Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s government.

“The Congress disciplinary action committee recommended to the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) that Saket and Anil should be expelled for anti-party activities. We accepted the recommendation of the disciplinary committee and expelled them for six years,” State Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay told IANS.

“The disciplinary committee recommended that Saket was the mastermind of the whole crisis in Uttarakhand and must be expelled. The Congress party had given him Lok Sabha tickets twice. But he indulged in such indiscipline,” Upadhyay added.

He further said the party would not accept any kind of indiscipline and strict action would be taken against those who violate discipline.

Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal had served notices to nine rebel Congress legislators, seeking their responses by March 26 on why they should not be disqualified from membership of the House for violating the party discipline and aligning with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Uttarakhand’s political upheaval showed no sign of abating as both sides — Chief Minister Harish Rawat and rebel Congress leader Harak Singh Rawat — have hardened their stands.

On Sunday, as the ruling coalition discussed how to prove its majority on the floor of the House by March 28 as mandated by Governor K.K.Paul, show cause notices were pasted on the houses of Congress rebel legislators. The chief minister personally oversaw the sealing of the Vidhan Sabha office of Harak Singh Rawat, the former agriculture minister.

Sources said there was a proper search of his office and some files were also seized.

The former agriculture minister after receiving the notice said he was still in the Congress but wanted the chief minister’s removal.

Nine Congress legislators led by Harak Singh had rebelled against the chief minister last week when they sought a vote division on the floor of the House. The speaker rejected the demand.

Before the crisis, the Congress had 36 legislators in the 70-member Assembly. The ruling party also has the support of six members of the Progressive Democratic Front, while the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has 28 legislators.

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