After a brief period of calm on Thursday, the Upper house of Parliament witnessed heated protest by the Congress MPs over the controversy surrounding Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa. The principal opposition party that has been raising protest in Rajya Sabha since Tuesday moved a notice seeking discussion over the issue. The notice is currently under consideration by Rajya Sabha Chairman Md. Hamid Ansari.
Congress party had even approached President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday accusing the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of attempting to “oust” the Congress regime in the state.
Raising the issue on the floor of Upper house, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad termed the “developments” in Arunachal as “alarming” for democracy and regional parties.
“Can another Assembly be created…this is an alarm bell…not only for one state, but for all regional parties,” he said adding “on one hand, the government was seeking Opposition cooperation in running of the House, on the other it was ‘dislodging an elected state government”.
The senior Congress leader also said that it has never happened in the history of India that a Deputy Speaker of Assembly removes the Speaker and that too not in the Assembly, but from a makeshift venue.
Responding to Mr. Azad’s charges, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said the notices were being examined by the Chairman and added that it was “not proper” to discuss the role of a Governor in the House.
“Knowingly or unknowingly you are criticising the Governor…that is my problem. Once the motion is admitted, we can discuss,” Mr. Kurien said.
CPI (M) General Secreatry Sitaram Yechury said the developments in Arunchal Pradesh were “anti-democratic”, while JD (U) President Sharad Yadav said it was not the first time that the Arunchal Pradesh issue has been raised in the House. “This is an alarming situation…. They (Centre) should have acted immediately,” said Sharad Yadav.
Soon the members of the Congress party intensified their protest and took to the Well of the house even as the Deputy Speaker and later the Chairman urged them to go back to their benches.
Rajya Sabha has so far been adjourned thrice with very little business transacted on Thursday.
Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa had on December 9 ordered advancing the assembly sitting after few dissident Congress MLAs, 11 BJP MLAs and two independents served a notice of impeachment motion against the Assembly Speaker
The Congress-ruled state government, on the other hand, have claimed that Governor’s order is 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. The state cabinet has already passed a resolution and sent an advice to the Governor to recall and cancel his order.
“It is clear that the BJP top leadership in connivance with some dissident Congress MLAs planned to destabilize the democratically-elected Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh,” Sonia Gandhi had told the press after meeting the President on Wednesday.
Congress party delegation led by Sonia Gandhi, including party vice president Rahul Gandhi, senior leaders AK Antony, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Ahmed Patel, handed over a memorandum to President Mukherjee on Wednesday, urging him to “preserve the sanctity of the Constitution, the democratic traditions of the country and polity and the rule of law”.
(With inputs from the PTI)