Uttarakhand’s First Brush With Article 356
Lack of set procedures for Prez’s rule led officials to scurry to prepare the docs
Dehradun: When Uttarakhand became the 27th state of India on November 9, 2000, in spite of suggestions to carve it out as a union territory, the message went out was that PrimeMinisterAtalBihariVajpayee was trying to uphold the principles of federalism in its true spirit.
More than a decade and half later, with President’s rule imposed in the state now, Vajpayee’s own BJP party, whichheadstheCentralgovernment under PM Narendra Modi, is being accused of trampling the federal system. Between then and now, somethingremainedunchangedinthehill state:lackof setprocedurestorunthe administration — then for a new political system that came to power and now in the absence of a political machinery with the governor in control.
The state had no rules of business or secretariat instructions for GovernorKKPaultofollowwhenthe Presidential proclamation was is- sued on March 27 and officials had to scurry to prepare the documents. They sourced some from Uttar Pradesh, from where Uttarakhand was carved out, and tweaked them to suit the state’s requirements. In the very be ginning, t oo, Uttarakhand faced many challenges to establish its own political system for transaction of government businesses. It was not an easy task to run the administration in view of its geographically large hill areas. More than 70% of the state is covered with forest. It has limited scope for its own source of revenue generation.
State had no rules of business for Guv to follow under Prez’s rule