Dehradun, April 21 (IANS) Uttarakhand’s ousted Congress chief minister Harish Rawat on Thursday hailed the high court decision to axe President’s Rule in the state as a victory for the people.
“Uttarakhand has got justice,” a visibly pleased Rawat told the media shortly after the Uttarakhand High Court gave a ruling that is widely seen as a huge embarrassment to the Narendra Modi government.
“We welcome the high court decision. This is a victory for the people of Uttarakhand,” Rawat said, and urged the central government to stick to its stated policy of “cooperative federalism”.
After two consecutive days of hearing on a matter filed by Rawat, the court ruled that the proclamation of central rule in the state on March 27 stood null and void.
The court said central rule should be clamped in a state only as a last resort and called for a floor test on April 29 in the Uttarakhand assembly to decide whether or not Rawat enjoys majority support.
“The people of Uttarakhand have a right to govern themselves,” Rawat added. “On behalf of all the secular forces, we want to thank the judiciary for healing our wounds.”
Rawat urged the central government “even now” to cooperate with the state government and to help overcome the wounds caused by his sacking.
“Let us resume with a spirit of cooperation. I urge all my colleagues to forgive and forget.”
“We are not talking about fighting,” the Congress leader said, when asked about the possibility of the central government appealing against the high court decision in the Supreme Court.
“They are ‘mahabali’, they are powerful people,” he said of the central government. “Let us begin a new phase if you are sincere about cooperative federalism.”
Rawat specifically thanked all the legislators of the Congress who stood by him during the political crisis, “not falling for the many allurements extended to them”.
“Uttarakhand has got justice. Democratic aspirations have won.”
He declined to comment on the nine rebel Congress legislators whose desertion sparked the crisis for Rawat. He, however, took potshots at the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The whole country knows who were behind the political instability in Uttarakhand. The BJP is becoming irrelevant in the state.”