Arunachal: Govt recommends Prez rule; Cong moves SC

Rajat Kain

FILE: Itanagar: File photo of the dissident MLAs of Congress party and BJP MLAs at a "special" Assembly session at a community hall, Naharlagun, in Itanagar on  Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Photo - PTI

FILE: Itanagar: File photo of the dissident MLAs of Congress party and BJP MLAs at a “special” Assembly session at a community hall, Naharlagun, in Itanagar on Wednesday, December 16, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Union Home minister Rajnath Singh will meet President Pranab Mukherjee Monday afternoon, a day after the cabinet recommended imposition of President’s rule in the security sensitive north-eastern state. On the other hand, the Congress party has strongly opposed the BJP-led Central government’s decision to impose President’s rule in the state it ruled till just a month ago. The principal opposition party has now moved Supreme Court against the Centre’s move.

Significantly, the issue arising out of political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, where the incumbent Congress-led government was voted out by opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs in a ‘special’ assembly in Itanagar last month, is still pending before the Supreme Court.

According to latest reports, Rajnath Singh will be apprising President the rationale behind cabinet’s decision to impose central rule in Arunachal Pradesh. The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Modi, had on Sunday recommended the President’s rule in the state citing “political instability”. The recommendation was sent to the President’s office soon after it was adopted by the cabinet.

Pressing its claim that Centre’s move reflected “coercion” and disregard for non-NDA governments in the state, a Congress party delegation met President Mukherjee later in the day. The party had earlier last month submitted its memorandum to the President seeking his intervention in to the issue.

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Congress President Sonia Gandhi submitting a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Congress President Sonia Gandhi submitting a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday, December 16, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Union Law minister and senior party leader Kapil Sibal and Arunachal Pradesh CM Nabam Tuki and others will meet the President in the evening. The Congress party president Sonia Gandhi too will be holding a meeting with Mr. Tuki and other leaders over the issue.

“We will meet the President over the issue,” AICC general secretary in-charge for Arunachal Pradesh V Narayanasamy said.

“When SC is hearing Arunachal matter what is motive behind President’s rule? We are seeing a systematic harassment of non-NDA State Govt’s (sic),” Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary and senior leader Ahmed Patel wrote on a micro-blogging site Twitter, adding “They promised Cooperative federalism but delivered Coercive federalism. Cabinet move on Arunachal another brazen attempt to murder democracy.”

On its part, the BJP-ruled central government defended the union cabinet’s move, dismissing allegations that the move was to allow BJP to form government in the state.

“The Union Cabinet has recommended the imposition of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh for the next six months. The question of BJP forming the government does not arise at all. It is the MLAs who will decide what to do in future,” MoS Home Kiren Rijiju told the news agency.

FILE: Itanagar: File photo of the dissident MLAs of Congress party and BJP MLAs at a "special" Assembly session at a community hall, Naharlagun, in Itanagar on  Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Photo - PTI

FILE: Itanagar: File photo of the dissident MLAs of Congress party and BJP MLAs at a “special” Assembly session at a community hall, Naharlagun, in Itanagar on Wednesday, December 16, 2015.
Photo – PTI

In a dramatic political development last month, 20 rebel MLAs of the ruling Congress party, along with 11 of the opposition BJP and two independent MLAs had ‘impeached’ Speaker Nabam Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall. The total of 33 MLAs of the 60-member house had then elected the dissident Congress lawmaker Kalikho Pul as the new Chief Minister of the state.

Another contention is the notification issued by Governor JP Rajkhowa advancing the Assembly session to December 16 from the scheduled day of January 24, 2016, which was opposed by the state government. The Congress-ruled state government had claimed that Governor’s order was in contradiction to Article 174 read with Article 163 of the Constitution of India and Rules 3 and 3A of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

Those decisions of the Governor and Deputy Speaker (rebel MLA) were challenged by Rebia in the Gauhati High Court, which had then posted the case for next hearing on February 1, 2016.