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Timeline: How SC threw the rule book at BJP in Arunachal govt case

Charu Kartikeya | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Wednesday, 13 July, could have been a day of celebration for the BJP in North East India, as its national president Amit Shah was set to formally launch the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in Guwahati.

However, the Supreme Court has turned it into a day of embarrassment for the party and its campaign in the North East.

Months before registering its maiden victory in Assembly elections in Assam, the BJP had launched its campaign in the North East with Arunachal Pradesh. It capitalised on dissent within the ruling Congress's ranks and got a hesitant President Pranab Mukherjee to dismiss the state government and impose President's Rule.

The move was challenged by the Congress in the Supreme Court, and the apex court's verdict, though late, has set things right in the state.

A five-judge bench has unanimously held President's Rule illegal, and has ordered restoration of the Congress government.

BJP leaders are now trying to save face by denying that the verdict is a setback for the party, saying that infighting within the state Congress was behind the events.

Ironically, BJP's slogan of 'Congress-mukt bharat' was the guiding principle behind the formation of NEDA, as it was behind the misadventure in Arunachal Pradesh.

Here is a quick recap of how things unfolded in Arunachal Pradesh since last December.

9 December 2015: Governor brings forward Assembly session

The winter session of the state Assembly was scheduled to take place from 14-18 January 2016. On 9 December 2015, Governor JP Rajkhowa suddenly brought the session forward to 16 December.

He also issued an order to take up, on priority, a notice served by the Leader of the Opposition for the impeachment of Speaker Nabam Rebia.

16 December 2015: "Rebel" MLAs hold makeshift Assembly session

A total of 21 followers of Congress rebel Kalikho Pul joined 11 BJP MLAs and two independents to hold an Assembly 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 Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, and 'elected' Pul as 'Leader of the House'. Meanwhile, Speaker Rebia moved the Gauhati High Court, challenging the governor's notification.

13 January 2016: SC bars Governor from convening Assembly

SC asked Rajkhowa not to convene the state Assembly till 18 January. The SC order came on an appeal by Speaker Nabam Rebia, who had moved the top court seeking the transfer of Gauhati High Court proceedings on his removal.

15 January 2016: SC begins hearing appeal against Governor's actions

A five-judge bench of the SC began hearing a Congress appeal, challenging the constitutionality of the Governor's advancement of the Assembly session without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers.

25 January 2016: President's Rule imposed

President's Rule was imposed in Arunachal Pradesh, following the Union Cabinet's recommendation. The Congress immediately filed another appeal in SC, challenging the recommendation. Two days later, on 27 January, the SC issued a notice to the Centre and the Arunachal Pradesh Governor on the Congress's petition.

17 February 2016: Cabinet recommends revocation of President's Rule

The Union Cabinet decided to recommend the revocation of President's Rule, but the SC ordered status quo. The SC vacated the status quo order the next day, paving the way for the revocation of President's Rule on 19 February, and the eventual formation of a new government in the state.

19 February 2016: Rebel Congress leader becomes new CM

Just a couple of hours after the revocation of President's Rule, dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the state. Ousted CM Tuki questioned the new government, saying that with the revocation of President's Rule, power would have to be restored to him, and that the former government should be reinstated.

13 July 2016: SC restores Congress government

The SC restored the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh, ruling that the Governor's decision to bring forward the the state Assembly session was "violative of the Constitution". It also ruled that all steps and decisions taken by the Assembly "pursuant to the Governor's 9 December 2015 order are unsustainable", and liable to be set aside.

SC directed status quo ante in Arunachal Pradesh, as it prevailed on 15 December 2015.

More in Catch

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First published: 13 July 2016, 2:51 IST
Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya

Assistant Editor at Catch, Charu enjoys covering politics and uncovering politicians. Of nine years in journalism, he spent six happily covering Parliament and parliamentarians at Lok Sabha TV and the other three as news anchor at Doordarshan News. A Royal Enfield enthusiast, he dreams of having enough time to roar away towards Ladakh, but for the moment the only miles he's covering are the 20-km stretch between home and work.