In a big setback for the Congress, President Pranab Mukherjee gave his nod to bring Arunachal Pradesh under central rule.The border state has been witnessing political crisis since October last year, leading to bitter fights between the Congress and the BJP. The approval for central rule came a day after Mukherjee sought clarifications from the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the government’s move.
On the same day, the Congress sent a petition against the recommendation to the President and moved the Supreme Court, which is expected to hear the case on Wednesday. The Congress cried hoarse and called the move a ‘murder of democracy’ on a day India celebrated its 67th Republic Day. It accused the BJP of creating trouble in Arunachal Pradesh to oust the present government of Chief Minister Nabam Tuki.
Tuki met former Union Minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal to discuss the fate of the party’s petition in the apex court and the future course of action. The Congress, which had raised the issue of constitutional crisis in Arunachal Pradesh during the previous winter session of parliament, said it will co-opt other political parties to broadbase its offensive against the BJP in the budget session scheduled to start next month.
“Moving beyond the slogan of Congress-mukt Bharat, the BJP is now working to create an Opposition-mukt Bharat,” Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said. “We will fight the battle in the court, inside the parliament and outside,” he said. The move has seemed to unite the Opposition. “This is a black day for the republic on the 67th Republic Day. This is against the spirit of co-operative federalism,” said JD(U)’s KC Tyagi.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also criticised the Centre’s move while invoking BJP veteran LK Advani, who has been out of favour with the saffron party’s leadership since the Modi government came to power. “Prez rule in Arunachal. Advaniji was right in saying there are emergency-like conditions in the country,” Kejriwal tweeted. “Point to me a single law and order problem in Arunachal Pradesh. You can’t, because there is none,” a miffed Tuki said.
The Centre had said the law-and-order condition in the state has deteriorated, an assembly session had not been held for six months and lawmakers were denied access to the assembly because the speaker had the building locked up.
The political crisis surfaced in Arunachal Pradesh in December when around half of the Congress lawmakers joined hands with the BJP in rebellion and supported a move to remove the speaker and chief minister at an assembly session convened by Governor JP Rajkhowa.
The rebel lawmakers held their meeting first in a community hall and then in a hotel, raising eyebrows. Congress leader Kalikho Pul blamed CM Tuki for the problem. “This is unfortunate. Arunachal Pradesh had to see this day because of Tuki,” said Pul, denying the BJP was behind the crisis.
“The BJP never said they want to form the government. They are not trying to do that,” he said. Sibal, who accused the Arunachal governor of being a BJP agent, said RSS-backed governors in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Assam and Tripura were partisan and were implementing the ruling party’s agenda.