New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday put its official stamp on the reinstatement of Harish Rawat as the chief minister of Uttarakhand.

Rawat had faced a trust vote on Tuesday, winning it with 33 of the 61 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) voting for his regime.

However the Congress is effectively heading a minority government as it has only 27 MLAs in the House; it demonstrated a majority with the support of six non-Congress MLAs.

Senior leaders of the Congress said that while there is a suggestion by a section of the leadership to dissolve the legislative assembly and call for early polls, the party is unlikely to opt for it.

“Right now the public sentiment is against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But we don’t want to rush into it because anti-BJP sentiment alone will not help, we want to take our work forward and then go to the public," a senior leader from Uttarakhand said, requesting anonymity.

The state is due for elections early next year; the term of the current assembly ends in March.

Rawat, in a meeting with party leaders on Monday, did however mention the option, the leader quoted above said.

“In the final year of government, we have already wasted two months. The state budget has been passed, we want to implement the policies listed there as we have very less time left. I don’t think there is any possibility of calling for early elections in a scenario like this," a party functionary from Uttarakhand said.

Rawat’s government fell into a political crisis after nine Congess MLAs in March defected to the BJP and demanded dismissal of the state government. Governor K.K. Paul asked Rawat to prove a majority on the floor of the House on 28 March. A day before the trust vote, the Centre imposed President’s rule in Uttarkhand.

“Ideally, the Congress party would want to complete its unfinished work and manifesto promises, specially those on disaster management in the state. In such a scenario, they will rather buy out more time and then go to polls," said M. M. Semwal, a professor in the department of political science at HNB Garhwal University.

“They are going to take their development work and tell the people that the central government did not allow them to work. The only thing they need to be cautious about is the fate of the nine disqualified MLAs," he added.

On Wednesday, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said the union government will lift President’s rule in the state, pre-empting a court order to the same effect, after the Congress won the trust vote.

A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh allowed the Union government to proceed with lifting the proclamation of President’s rule in the state.

The court asked Rohatgi to place a copy of the order of revocation before it on Friday. After revocation, the first respondent (Rawat) can assume the office of the chief minister, the court noted in its order.

Soon after Rohatgi’s comments, according to a news report by the Press Trust of India, the union cabinet met briefly at Parliament House and recommended revocation of President’s rule in the state.

This will settle the two-month-long controversy over governance in Uttarakhand. The Uttarakhand high court on 21 April struck down President’s rule, after which the Centre approached the Supreme Court.

A trust vote was held on Tuesday under the apex court’s supervision.

The nine Congress MLAs who were disqualified for violating the party’s whip did not vote in the floor test. Their appeal against the Uttarakhand high court ruling upholding their disqualification is scheduled for hearing on 12 July.

On Wednesday, the apex court said the effect of reversing the disqualification of the nine MLAs was a “matter of debate". It refrained from making any observation on the issue.

In case the apex court later strikes down the order of disqualification, the question of their participation in the trust vote could recur.

“Judiciary in a way came forward as an adjudicator of constitutional and democratic values. From the Supreme Court to the high court, I want to thank the judiciary. With this, the trust of people in the constitutional set-up has increased further," Rawat told reporters in Dehradun after the Supreme Court announced the result of the trust vote.

He added that he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union finance minister Arun Jaitley to seek “active support" to take forward Uttarakhand’s development agenda.

“They did their worst. We did our best. Democracy won in Uttarakhand! Hope Modiji learns his lesson - people of this country and the institutions built by our founding fathers will not tolerate the murder of democracy!," Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

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