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Congress Demands Dismissal of Saini Government and Imposition of President’s Rule in Haryana

Congress Demands Dismissal of Saini Government and Imposition of President’s Rule in Haryana

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 8: Even as the Haryana chief minister Nayab Singh Saini maintained that his government was “safe and functioning strongly,” the Congress on Wednesday demanded dismissal of the BJP ministry and imposition of the president’s rule in the state with the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) assuring help to the Congress if it wanted to pull down the Saini government after three independents withdrew support.

The Congress said it would write to Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya to demand that the BJP government be dismissed. It also asked the JJP, the INLD and Independent MLA Balraj Kundu to write similar letters to the Governor to give credence to their claim of opposing the BJP.

“We are going to write to the Governor that three Independent MLAs have withdrawn support and they have extended support to our party… the government is in the minority and they have no right to stay in power. We will demand that the government be dismissed, President’s Rule be imposed and fresh elections be held,” Haryana Congress chief Udai Bhan said.

“Likewise, the JJP should also write a letter that the government be dismissed. INLD’s Abhay Singh Chautala and Independent MLA Balraj Kundu, who claim to be opposing the government, should also write similar letters to the Governor,” he added. Mr Bhan said the three Independent MLAs have already written to the Governor regarding their withdrawal of support.

Talking to reporters in Sirsa on Wednesday, Haryana CM Nayab Singh Saini, however, asserted that his government was not in trouble and was working strongly.

Senior Congress leader B.B. Batra said the JJP, once an ally of the BJP in the State, should write to the Governor making it clear that they were not supporting the dispensation any more. The JJP which has 10 MLAs in the 90-member Haryana assembly, had been supporting the previous BJP ministry led by Manohar Lal Khattar for four and half years.

On Tuesday, JJP leader Digvijay Singh Chautala said if Leader of Opposition B.S. Hooda takes steps to bring down the Nayab Saini government, his party would support the move. “I want to tell Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda that going by the present numbers in the Assembly, if a step is taken that this government is brought down during [Lok Sabha] elections, then we will fully consider to support them in this,” Mr Chautala told reporters in Hisar.

“Now, the Congress has to think whether they will take a step to bring down the BJP government,” he said. Asked whether his party will support the Congress, he replied, “We are clear that steps should be taken to bring down the government”.

Reacting to Mr Chautala’s statement, Mr Batra said, “Let the JJP write a letter to the Governor stating that they are not supporting the BJP government… We may know this fact [that JJP is not supporting them] but let them give a letter stating the same. “Like the three Independent MLAs wrote a letter to Governor stating they have withdrawn their support… The JJP should also do this,” he said.

The three Independent MLAs — Sombir Sangwan (Dadri), Randhir Singh Gollen (Pundri) and Dharampal Gonder (Nilokheri) — on Tuesday withdrew support to the BJP government in Haryana and announced they would back the Congress.

Mr Saini had replaced Manohar Lal Khattar as chief minister in March and the JJP’s four-and-a-half-year-old post-poll alliance with BJP had come to an end with Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala saying they will not be part of the new government headed by Mr Saini.

BJP’s Jawahar Yadav said there was no danger to the BJP government in the state. He said the Saini government won a trust vote on March 13 and if it has to prove its majority on the floor of the House, it will do so. The government which has the support of two other Independents is now two short of the majority mark in the 90-member House which currently has effective strength of 88.

Hitting out at the Congress, Mr Saini said the opposition party’s actions were only aimed at fulfilling the personal aspirations of some people. “The Congress knows that it cannot fulfil the aspirations of people and misleads them. It tries to create confusion that the (state) government is in a minority. The government is in no trouble and it is functioning strongly,” he asserted.

In Chandigarh, while replying to a question, Haryana Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta said the Saini government had won the trust vote on March 13. “How can we say that the government is in minority? It is intact and running as it was earlier,” he told reporters.

Asked if a no-confidence motion can be brought against the government, the Speaker said, “Usually, when a no-confidence is brought, another one can only be brought six months after that. It is a technical matter.”

Among the three Independent MLAs who withdrew their support, Gollen fought as an Independent and defeated Congress party’s Satbir Bhana in the 2019 Haryana assembly polls. He had unsuccessfully fought the 2014 Assembly polls on a BJP ticket. He had remained chairman of the Haryana Tourism Corporation.

Gonder defeated BJP nominee Bhagwan Das Kabirpanthi from the Nilokheri seat in the 2019 assembly polls. He had remained the chairman of the Haryana Forest Development Corporation. Sangwan won the Dadri Assembly seat by defeating JJP nominee Satpal Sangwan in the previous assembly elections. He had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Assembly polls.

In recent days, some JJP MLAs have hinted at supporting the BJP. The BJP has 40 MLAs, the Congress 30 and the JJP 10 in the House. If the opposition seeks a no-confidence motion in the state assembly, the BJP may need JJP MLAs to abstain.

As the intervening period between holding two Assembly sessions should not be more than six months, the Governor will have to summon the House before September 13. State Assembly polls in Haryana are due in October while the Karnal Assembly bypoll is scheduled for May 25 along with voting to the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana.

Mr Saini, the MP from Kurukshetra in the outgoing Lok Sabha, is the BJP candidate for the bypolls and if he wins, the party’s strength in the Assembly will rise to 41. The Saini-led BJP government in Haryana on March 13 won the trust vote by a voice vote in the House after he took oath as the new chief minister replacing Khattar.



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