New Delhi: The centre imposed President’s rule in Uttarakhand on Sunday on grounds of “breakdown of governance" after a political crisis was triggered by a rebellion in the ruling Congress party.

The centre’s decision came a day before chief minister Harish Rawat was to prove his majority on the floor of the House.

President Pranab Mukherjee signed the proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution dismissing the Congress government headed by Rawat and placed the legislative assembly of Uttarakhand under suspended animation on the recommendation of the Union cabinet, according to a news report by the Press Trust of India.

The cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had held an emergency meeting in the national capital on Saturday night.

The Union cabinet had considered several reports received from governor Krishna Kant Paul, who had described the political situation as volatile and expressed apprehension over possible pandemonium during the scheduled trial of strength in the state legislative assembly on Monday.

The Imposition of President’s rule in the state would mean that the trust vote would now be infructuous.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters soon after the imposition of President’s rule in the state that there were “cogent, relevant and extremely important grounds" on which the Union cabinet came to the decision.

“There is no better example than this for invoking Article 356 of the Constitution. For the last nine days, every day, the provisions of the Constitution are being murdered. It was not only appropriate, but the demand of the time that such an immoral government did not continue in Uttarakhand which has lost its majority," he said, adding that the Congress government had allegedly engaged in horse-trading as well as efforts were being made to change the composition of the House.

Rawat said that the decision to impose President’s rule was “a premeditated conspiracy hatched by the centre to dislodge the democratically elected Congress government in the state".

The Congress party, too, has criticized the centre’s decision, calling it a “murder of democracy", and added that it would take legal recourse.

‘’Post-Arunachal (Pradesh), democracy has been murdered in broad day light, Constitution has been negated and with defiant impunity, and rajdharma has been shattered to pieces by the Modi government by the imposition of President rule in Uttarakhand,’’ Randeep Surjewala, the chief spokesperson of the Congress party, said in a statement, adding that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, used “money power and muscle power" to destabilize the government in the hill state.

“Only want to say that there are courts in India, we will go to the high court,’’ senior Congress leader and former law minister Kapil Sibal told reporters in the national capital.

On Sunday, Govind Singh Kunjwal, the speaker of the Uttarakhand assembly, also disqualified the nine members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) of the Congress who had rebelled, including former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna.

Kunjwal said in Dehradun on Sunday that the decision to disqualify the legislators was taken under the anti-defection law on the basis of evidence available against them.

“I hope that the President’s Rule will not be there for a long time and fresh elections will be held early," Bahuguna said, adding that if there is a possibility of the formation of a government within the present assembly, it would be good.

“The legislative assembly is in suspended animation, which means that any party can approach the governor with a stake to form the government. In this case, the BJP has the possibility to do it,’’ said Annpurna Nautiyal, dean of school of humanities and social sciences at H.N.B Garhwal University in Uttarakhand.

“Both the parties are serving their own political interests, and the biggest loser in it is going to be the people of Uttarakhand because no one is talking about the real issue of development in the state. The political crisis is far from over.’’

PTI contributed to the story.

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