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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat today claimed that the sting CD, which purportedly showed him negotiating to buy support of rebel Congress MLAs during the last year's political crisis in the state, was "mala fide" and aimed at "sullying" his reputation. He told reporters here that the sting CD, which had served the basis for imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand, had lost its relevance with the reinstatement of his government. "Wasn't the President's rule imposed in Uttarakhand on the basis of the sting CD? Isn't it a fact that President's Rule in Uttarakhand has been revoked by the courts of law? It means that the very justification of President's Rule has been demolished by the courts," the Chief Minister said. "So where is the relevance of the sting CD?," he said hours after the Election Commission (EC) announced poll schedules for Uttarakhand and four other states today. The alleged sting episode is likely to be a major election issue for the Opposition in Uttarakhand, which goes to the polls on February 15, and has found mentions in speeches of top BJP leaders during the party's Parivartan Rally in the state. Alleging that a "lopsided view of the CD was being taken up by investigating agencies", Rawat claimed that the content of the sting video when seen in totality throws up more questions about the person shown in conversation with him than about himself. "On one hand you see a man who has been chief minister for two years saying he does not have the amount to buy support of disgruntled MLAs. While on the other you have someone who is saying everything will be arranged.
Should not that person's credentials be probed," he asked. Rawat alleged that the entire episode was "stage-managed to malign him". The CBI that is conducting preliminary enquiry into the sting operation had summoned Rawat for questioning on December 26. But the Chief Minister could not appear before it and has sought a fresh date. Hailing the EC's decision to hold single phase election in the state, he said the government machinery is geared up to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections. Rawat took highlighted steps taken by his government in the last two years to implement development projects and ensure empowerment of women and weaker sections. "84 per cent of new development projects announced during my tenure are at different stages of implementation," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)