President's rule imposed in Arunachal Pradesh: 10 facts you must know
Arunachal Pradesh has seen 3 chief ministers in the past 9 years and may get a fourth one soon, following the Union government's imposition of President's rule in the state. President Pranab Mukherjee is reported to have given his assent to the government's recommendation.
On 25 January, President Pranab Mukherjee appeared not entirely convinced about giving a go-ahead for central rule as he had reportedly sought justification from the government for the same.
The Congress had appealed to Mukherjee to 'do justice', presenting to him a memorandum alleging 'violation of established constitutional procedures'. Adding to the crisis, were the Congress' twin appeals in the Supreme Court on the matter.
The first one, being heard by a five-judge bench since 15 January, challenges the constitutionality of Arunachal Pradesh Governor JP Rajkhowa's decision to advance the Assembly session without advice of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers. The Congress' complain to the President also asks how could the union government recommend President's rule in the middle of a court-hearing.
The second appeal came on 25 January when the Congress moved the SC challenging the legality of the Governor's recommendation to the Centre to impose President's rule in the state.
What led to this crisis? Here are 10 facts about these developments that you must know -
In April 2011, the then chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh died in an air crash. Following his death, his close aide Jarbom Gamlin, who was the power minister in his government, was appointed CM.
The Congress in Arunachal Pradesh has been strife-ridden for a long time. Khandu himself had faced a lot of dissidence from a group of MLAs. The present CM Nabam Tuki is said to be one of these dissidents, who, after Khandu's death, turned against his successor Gamlin. After weeks of turmoil, Gamlin was forced to resign in October 2011.
While resigning, Gamlin was believed to have recommended the name of then finance minister Kalikho Pul as a possible replacement. Ignoring Gamlin's recommendation, the Congress high command selected Nabam Tuki as the next CM. This disregard of Gamlin's advice is what has boomeranged to hit the Congress now.
Tuki managed to govern for three years and by the end of 2014, dissent against him started to intensify. The state reportedly ran into debt and the government faced allegations of financial management. Such allegations were also made by Pul, a minister in Tuki's cabinet.
Pul was promptly sacked from the Cabinet in April 2015 and was later expelled from the Congress for 'anti-party activities. Four other ministers were also sacked later. They were joined by several Congress MLAs who resigned and all of them formed a rebel group.
Rajkhowa, a former chief secretary of Assam, was appointed as Governor in May 2015 and soon developed serious differences with the Tuki-led government. Apparently there were instances in which the Governor directly summoned top bureaucrats of the state government as well as officers of the state assembly, asking them to directly report to him. CM Tuki soon accused Rajkhowa of interfering with the activities of the government and also superseding the office of the Speaker.
The winter session of the state assembly was scheduled to take place from 14 to 18 January, 2016. On 10 December, 2015, the Governor suddenly advanced the session toDecember 16. He also issued an order to take up on priority basis a notice served by the leader of Opposition for impeachment of Speaker Nabam Rebia.
Refusing to abide, Rebia moved the Gauhati High Court challenging the governor's notification. Meanwhile, 21 Pul followers joined 11 BJP MLAs and 2 independents to hold the session on the said dates in a makeshift assembly. With the deputy speaker, also a rebel, presiding, the 'session' impeached the Speaker, "passed" a no-confidence motion against CM Tuki and 'elected' Pul as 'leader of the House'.
Tuki and MLAs who support him called this session and its decisions 'illegal' and 'unconstitutional'. The High Court put a stay on all the decisions taken in the 'session'. Speaker Rebia then moved the SC where a Constitutional bench is still hearing the matter.
CM Tuki is said to have the support of only 26 MLAs, which leaves his government in a minority position in the state's 60-member House. Constitutionally, it is imperative for him to demonstrate support of the required 31 MLAs. Both camps in the state are said to be attempting to win over MLAs to their respective sides.
However, with the Union government's imposition of President's rule and the Congress having moved the Supreme Court, the action has now shifted from Itanagar to New Delhi. What is clear is that the Congress is clearly a divided house in Arunachal Pradesh and the BJP is using all means at its disposal to exploit the situation.
It is hard to say till when will the central rule last in the state. It may be recalled that Delhi was under President's rule for almost a year from February 2014 to February 2015, in spite of the courts repeatedly goading the Centre to give the citizens of the city-state their right of a constitutionally-elected government.
The imposition of President's Rule has sparked an uproar with various Opposition parties slamming the NDA government of destroying federalism. Here are some of the reactions:
Imposing President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh is a blatant bid to topple a duly elected government," Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
"This is a black day for Republic of India at Republic Day," KC Tyagi, member Rajya Sabha, and senior leader, JD (U).
"There is no law order problem in Arunachal Pradesh. There were only protests against the governor's ruling. People are entitled to protest... I had a feeling they (NDA) will do this as this was their intention. But we will fight this battle legally," Nabam Tuki.
"It isn't President's rule, but Modi's rule that has been implemented in Arunachal Pradesh. Advaniji was correct in saying that there is an emergency like situation in the country today," Ashish Khetan, AAP.
"Prez Rule in Arunachal. Advani ji was right in saying that there are emergency like conditions in the country," Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister and co-founder AAP, on Twitter.
This is unfortunate. Arunachal Pradesh had to see this day because of Nabam Tuki," Kalikho Pul.
"Imposing President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh is unconstitutional. We'll fight it in Parliament and in Supreme Court," RPN Singh, Congress.
(With inputs from Suhas Munshi)