President Pranab Mukherjee told Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to explain the need for President's Rule in Arunachal Pradesh. Reports said that Rajnath is expected to meet the President over the deepening crisis in the northeastern state at 2pm on Monday.
The Union Cabinet on Sunday recommended imposition of President's Rule in Congress-ruled Arunachal Pradesh, which is rocked by political turmoil, in a move that could have major political ramifications. The government's recommendation comes at a time when Supreme Court judges are hearing petitions linked to the political crisis in the state. Sources say the government consulted the Attorney General before taking the decision.
Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Cabinet at an unscheduled meeting this morning took the decision to recommend imposition of President's rule in the northeast state, official sources said in Delhi.
While some reports said that Arunachal Pradesh has been put under President's Rule, others did not confirm it rightaway. DNA report claimed that President Mukherjee signed the order on Sunday night.
It is learnt that the Cabinet also recommended that the state Assembly be kept under suspended animation. The decision came at a time when Supreme Court is hearing petitions on the political crisis.
The decision drew stinging condemnation from the Opposition with Congress alleging democracy was being trampled and that Modi was "fountainhead" of political intolerance while a shocked Chief Minister Nabam Tuki said such a decision in a sensitive border state was "unprecedented" and "unacceptable".
Accusing the Modi government of trying to destabilize a state bordering China, Congress leader Kapil Sibal also said the party will challenge in court the Cabinet decision if it gets presidential assent.
A senior official in Arunachal government backed Centre's action and told The Hindustan Times that the government had to intervene because the crisis in Arunachal Pradesh amounted to violation of the Constitution’s Article 174(1) which prescribes that there should not be a gap of more than six months between two sessions of a state legislative assembly.
The Congress dismissed the BJP-led Centre’s so-called compulsion to intervene.
Sibal, who also is a counsel for the state government, targetted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sibal called him the "fountainhead" of political intolerance. He said the party would challenge in court the cabinet’s recommendation if it gets the President's nod.
"The government has taken a wrong step. There cannot be possibly any wrong step than this. The governor had embarrassed himself and now the government is embarrassing itself. They will pay a heavy price," Sibal said.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal expressed "shock" over the Cabinet decision, saying it is "murder" of the country's Constitution.
Union Cab recommending Prez rule in Arunachal shocking. Murder of Consti on Rep D eve. BJP lost elections.Now acquiring power thro back door
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 24, 2016
Strongly condemn Centre's move to impose Prez rule in Arunachal Pradesh, while the matter is still pending before SC's Constitutional Bench.
— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) January 24, 2016
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki expressed surprise over the Union Cabinet's recommendation for imposing President's rule in the state.
"This is really shocking as the Centre did not consult the state government before taking such a harsh decision. Arunachal is absolutely peaceful without even a single case of law and order breakdown reported in the last month," Tuki told PTI.
"There is no Constitutional crisis in the state as recommended by the governor. Whatever crisis is there it is his (Governor's) creation," Tuki said, adding that he enjoyed full support from all the cabinet ministers.
"With only a day left for Republic Day celebrations, such a decision will dampen the democratic spirit of the state's people who are zealously guarding the border with China," Tuki said.
Defending the Centre's move, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said it is a constitutional process because the Assembly did not hold its session for more than 6 months.
"And this year on 21 January, the six months time has completed. President's Rule could have been imposed immediately but the matter is sub-judice and the decision is pending in the Supreme Court. But the time frame of six months have exceeded. We do not have any role in the recommendation of President's Rule because it is a constitutional process."
The Congress MLAs who revolted against Tuki welcomed the Cabinet decision with Pasang Dorjee, a legislator and spokesman of the rebel group, saying they were ready to form an alternative government with the support of BJP and others.
Arunachal Pradesh was rocked by a political crisis on 16 December last year as 21 rebel Congress MLAs joined hands with 11 of BJP and two independents to 'impeach' Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia at a makeshift venue, in a move branded as "illegal and unconstitutional" by the Speaker.
The BJP has 11 MLAs in the 60-member House. Even the Deputy Speaker was among those who rebelled, reports said. While the Congress moved a motion demanding removal of the Deputy Speaker, the BJP sought the Speaker’s removal. The Governor intervened and advanced a session of the assembly. He also sent a letter directing that the first item on the agenda of the session should be a resolution for removal of the Speaker.
The Governor told the Deputy Speaker, who is not too happy with the Congress, "shall preside over the House from the first moment of the first sitting of the House in accordance with provisions in article 181(1) of the Constitution”.
With agency inputs