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BJP using Arunachal governor to oust Congress government: Sonia

Source: PTI
December 16, 2015 18:55 IST
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Congress chief Sonia Gandhi submits a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Party vice president Rahul Gandhi is also seen. Photograph: PTI photo

Accusing the Narendra Modi government of trying to 'oust' the Congress regime in Arunachal Pradesh with a 'pre-planned design', Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders met President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday and lodged a strong protest against state Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa.

"It is clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party top leadership in connivance with some dissident Congress MLAs planned to destabilise the democratically-elected Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh. This is obviously a pre-planned design involving the highest functionaries of the central government in this unprincipled enterprise," the Congress chief told reporters at the Rashtrapati Bhavan after meeting the President.

The Congress delegation handed over a memorandum to Mukherjee, urging him to preserve the sanctity of the Constitution, the democratic traditions of the country and polity and the rule of law.

It said the President should issue 'appropriate directions/advisory' in this regard.

The delegation, led by Sonia, included Rahul and senior leaders A K Antony, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Ahmed Patel.

Alleging that the governor of Arunachal Pradesh has acted 'contrary to' the spirit and scheme of the Constitution, the Congress said, "It seems the governor, at the behest of the central government, along with those Congress MLAs enticed to defect to the BJP is using unconstitutional means in seeking to oust the democratically-elected government of the state."

The party alleged that the governor's actions have created a 'constitutional crisis' and constitutional tenets of propriety are being 'wantonly disregarded'.

Governor Rajkhowa had, a few days ago, issued orders for convening the three-day winter session of the assembly from December 16 to 18, modifying the earlier order of summoning the House from January 14 to 18.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "We are very sorry to say that unconstitutional activities are made to be carried out by the Governor on the directions of the central government. The Assembly session was scheduled to begin on January 14. But the governor himself prorogued the assembly on November 3 and has advanced the session. The chief minister, the Cabinet and the speaker do not have any information about it. Always in the Constitution, whether it is Parliament or any assembly, the government decides and then requests the President at the national or the governor at the state level and asks him to issue a summon," he said.

The party delegation met the President after disrupting Parliament for the second consecutive day slamming the Centre even as the latter said an 'emergency-like situation' was being witnessed there.

The party forced repeated adjournments of the Rajya Sabha over the issue while in the Lok Sabha, its members, including Sonia and Rahul, staged a walkout.

Alleging 'murder of Constitution and democracy', the Congress members in both the Houses demanded the dismissal of the governor and forced two adjournments in the Rajya Sabha.

In Arunachal Pradesh, 14 rebel Congress MLAs behind the move for Speaker Nabam Rebia's removal were disqualified from the assembly on Wednesday, on the eve of its winter session which would take up the impeachment motion notice served by 11 BJP and two independent members.

Led by former minister Kalikho Pul, 21 Congress MLAs out of the total 47 in the 60-member House have raised a banner of revolt against the leadership of Chief Minister Nabam Tuki for the last three months.

In the 60-member Legislative Assembly of Arunachal Pradesh, 47 MLAs belong to the Congress, 11 to the BJP and 2 Independents.

The Congress leadership gave a representation to the President against the order of the governor issued on December 9.

Noting that in the last few weeks, certain very 'disquieting' events have transpired in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress leadership said that the governor had on November 3 issued an order under Article 174(1) of the Constitution on the advice of the chief minister for summoning of the state assembly for its 6th session from January 14, 2016.

The Congress insisted that there is no provision either under the Constitution or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business (‘Conduct of Business Rules’), which empowers the governor to advance the session of the state assembly without consulting the chief minister and the Council of Ministers.

"Surprisingly, on December 9, 2015, the governor also sent a message under Article 175(2) of the Constitution fixing, inter alia, the ‘resolution for removal of the speaker’ as the first item of the agenda for the state assembly on its first sitting in its sixth session," the memorandum said, adding that such a conduct of a highest constitutional authority is unprecedented.

"We believe that the above sequences of events establish beyond doubt that the governor, instead of acting in the best interests of the state, is being guided by partisan political interests of the BJP.  The governor’s actions have created a constitutional crisis and constitutional tenets of propriety are being wantonly disregarded," it said.

The party said that on November 6, 2015, a notice for resolution for removal of the deputy speaker of the state assembly was submitted by the MLAs of the Congress.

Flagging that law and order is a state subject, the Congress alleged that the governor without the knowledge of the chief minister and home minister of the state, requisitioned central forces to be deployed in the state.

"Incidentally, the minister of state for home (Kiran Rijiju), an elected MP from Arunachal Pradesh, is in-charge of northeastern states. This act of the governor in requesting the home ministry and deploying Central Reserved Police Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police forces is subversion of constitutional authority vested with the democratically-elected government of Arunachal Pradesh," the party said.

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