Congress declares 'all out war' against Modi over Arunachal crisis; Pranab questions President's Rule

Barely 24 hours after the Union Cabinet recommended President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, President Pranab Mukherjee asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to clarify why the Centre wants President's rule in Arunachal even as the Congress challenged the Centre’s move in Supreme Court and pushed for the President to weigh in.

Rajnath Singh met Mukherjee to explain that the “situation” in the state had deteriorated to a point where President's rule must kick in, reports The Indian Express.

Angry over the move to clamp President’s rule in party-ruled Arunachal Pradesh, Congress today approached President Pranab Mukherjee, the Supreme Court and sought to rally round non-BJP Chief Ministers, declaring an “all-out war” against the “trampling” of the Constitution by the Modi government. Congress chief whip Bamang Felix filed the petition in Supreme Court.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki. Image courtesy PIB

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki. Image courtesy PIB

“The Constitution is being trampled upon. Just a day before the Republic day, the Union Cabinet is taking such a decision. We will fight an all-out war. We will fight in Parliament, in court and along with people. Will tell them how democracy is being endangered”, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.

Speaking to The Hindu, Rajya Sabha member and senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi said the Centre is on a collision course with the Supreme Court.

“Now there is no doubt that the political conspiracy in Arunachal was hatched in Delhi. By making the recommendation, the Centre wants to present the Supreme Court with a fait accompli and make the entire judicial process infructuous.”

Noted Constitutional expert Soli Sorabjee, however, takes the view that rushing in with opinion is not relevant until the President takes a call on the recommendation.

“President’s rule has not been imposed as yet. The recommendation is only a ministerial advice to the President. It is pre-mature to file any writ petition or debate the legality of President’s rule at this point.”

After meeting the President along with a party delegation, Ghulam Nabi Azad contended that destabilizing the sensitive state bordering China was fraught with dangerous consequences for all non-BJP states which could be made unstable “through Governors”.

Azad said that the party would seek to rally round all non-BJP parties on the issue in the coming budget session of Parliament noting that they had backed Congress when such attempts had been made in Arunachal Pradesh in the last session.

Congress lawyer and former Union minister Kapil Sibal said the Modi government is the "fountainhead of political intolerance," reports The Times of India.

The Indian Express reports that Sibal alleged that a dissident MLA sought a businessman’s support to topple the government and claimed he had the support of the BJP and RSS.

"We will challenge... in the event the recommendation of the Cabinet is affirmed and assented to by the President. We'll challenge, saying this is trying to bypass a matter which is sub-judice and trying to take advantage by using their constitutional power to destabilise a state, which needs stability," Sibal said.

Rahul Gandhi called the move to impose President’s rule a “blatant” bid to topple a duly-elected government and Congress will fight the “attack” on the Constiution.

“Imposing President’s rule in Arunachal is a blatant bid to topple a duly-elected Govt. Modiji, you talk about federalism but murder democracy. You talk about cooperation but use every means to coerce. The Congress Party will fight this attack on our constitution, on our democracy, on the people’s mandate,” Rahul said in a series of tweets.

Party leader Kapil Sibal, a noted lawyer, said it was “shocking” that the Arunachal Governor had recommended President’s rule in the state in spite of an assurance by his lawyer in the Supreme Court that “no precipitate action” would be taken.

“It is an act to mislead the apex court. We will seek justice”, Sibal, a former Law Minister, said adding that a petition has already been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the government’s recommendation to impose President’s rule.

In a memorandum, the party told the President that “this is the first time since independence that such a recommendation has been made to impose President’s rule in the midst of a court hearing.”. It also enclosed a “summary of events” detailing the “disquieting events leading to the Governor’s illegal actions”.

Expressing confidence that he would do justice in the matter, the Congress leaders requested the President to reflect upon what is stated in the ‘summary of events’ and take that into account while dealing with the memorandum.

Besides Arunachal Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and PCC Chief Padi Richo, the memorandum is signed by Azad, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarun Kharge, Sibal and AICC General Secretary V Narainsamy.

In his first Republic Day address after being elected a second time, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday slammed the Modi government's decision to recommend President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh as “unconstitutional” and said Delhi was the Centre’s “next target”.

“The government has been suspended in Arunachal Pradesh and President’s rule recommended. Nowhere is it written in the Constitution that if the state is ruled by parties other than the one at the Centre, President’s rule should be proposed. Just two days before Republic Day, the Constitution has been murdered,” he said.

He added, “Some journalists called me yesterday. They told me Delhi is the Centre’s next target. I said it must be a rumour as we are running a good government. Odd-even has been successful… We are doing good (work) when it comes to education, we have reduced electricity rates, given water for free and compensation to the farmers.”

Kejriwal said the Centre is like an elder brother to states. “Centre should behave like Ram, who took care of his younger brothers, instead of ordering CBI (raids) and imposing President’s Rule.”

With PTI

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Updated Date: Jan 26, 2016 08:43:21 IST

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