Former Uttarakhand minister and Congress leader Navprabhat has written to Election Commission, urging it to “clear the confusion” in the state regarding bypolls including that for Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat who needs to get elected to the assembly within six months even as less than a year is left for the state to go polls.
The Congress leader said Section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 mandates the Election Commission to fill the casual vacancies in state legislatures through bye-elections within six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is one year or more.
Mr Navprabhat said he has sent a representation to the commission so that it “clarifies the doubts on whether the by-elections will be held or not”.
The Congress leader said he has urged the poll panel to take a decision according to the rules and the statutory situation in the state.
“There is no constitutional crisis in the state at this time but an atmosphere of uncertainty. Legally Tirath Singh Rawat can remain chief minister for six months. What will happen later cannot be predicted. Rest is upon the BJP to decide how will they handle the situation,” he said.
The Congress leader said the political situation in the state will depend upon the EC’s decision.
“If the Commission conducts elections then the situation will be different and if it decides not to hold the by-elections then the situation will be completely different,” he said.
The Congress leader had earlier said that a “constitutional crisis appears” to be brewing in Uttarakhand as Tirath Singh Rawat is not an MLA.
“To continue holding his post, Rawat has to be an elected member of the legislative assembly before the completion of six months on September 9. Under section 151 A of the Representation of the People Act, a by-election cannot be held in the event where only a year is remaining for the general elections,” he said.
Gangotri and Haldwani assembly seats in the state are vacant due to the death of the sitting MLAs.
Tirath Singh Rawat, who is MP from Garwhal, took oath as Chief Minister in March this year replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat.
Assembly polls are due in the state early next year.
The BJP had swept the elections in 2017 winning 57 seats in the 70 member Uttarakhand Assembly. Congress won 11 seats.