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All you want to know about President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh

President’s Rule:

On Jan 26,2016 President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent for central rule in Arunachal Pradesh with Congress and other Opposition parties calling it a “murder of democracy.”

Political Background:

In the House of 60, BJP has 11, Congress has 47 MLAs and 2 independent MLA. Leader of 21 Congress rebel MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh, Kalikho Pul alleges that Tuki and his supporters have been indulging in corruption. He claims that this is a fight within the state Congress. Kalikho Pul claims that the stipends of students have been stopped and bills of small contractors not cleared and the CM has been using crores of rupees from PDS department for making dubious payments. Kalikho Pul mentioned that since four months he has been trying to meet Congress High Command but could not meet them, however he has discussed this corruption issue with senior leaders such as Gulab Nabi Azad, Kamal Nath, V Narayanasamy, Salman Khursheed, etc.

Kalikho Pul,  the leader of 21 Congress rebel MLAs has support of 2 independents making the total to 23 and need support of 8 more MLAs to be in majority in the 60 member House. He is open for outside support like BJP.

The opposition leader Tamiyo Taga (of BJP) alleged that the financial position of the state deteriorated under Tuki while contractors payment, stipends, salaries were not paid.  It is also alleged that the central fund under National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) have been grossly misused by CM Tuki. There has been no annual operating plan (AOP) since Tuki took the rein of the state and all development funds have been siphoned off.

Sequence of events:

  • The assembly speaker Nabam Rebia, with the backing of CM and his cousin Shri Nabam Tuki,  refused to allow the mandatory notification on the impeachment notice brought by independent and BJP MLAs and refused to call the session within 14 days.
  • It is the CM and Speaker who locked and sealed the assembly gate. Security forces stopped rebel Congress MLAs and opposition lawmakers to enter into the assembly.
  • On December 9, this group of rebel Congress MLAs approached Governor J P Rajkhowa, seeking to impeach Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia. The rebel MLAs were upset with Rebia, who is a cousin of Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and seen as being in his camp, because they said he was trying to get them disqualified from the Assembly.
  • After the Speaker refused to convene a session to vote on an impeachment motion against him, the governor called an emergency session on December 16 as per rules. The session was held in a government community center but the Assembly Speaker branded it as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
  • Chief Minister  and the 26 lawmakers supporting him in the 60-member assembly boycotted the session calling it illegal and unconstitutional.
  • In the session presided by Deputy Speaker T N Thongdok (a congress Rebel), all the rebel Congress MLAs, 2 independent MLAs and 11 BJP MLAs gathered to “vote out” the Chief Minister and elect his replacement. The special session also moved a no-confidence motion against CM Tuki. At the end of the session, Tuki was ‘defeated’ in a floor test and the ‘House’ ‘elected’ Kalikho Pul as the new Leader of the House. Thongdok announced Pul as the “new Leader of the House” and said that the “proceedings” would be sent to the Governor who would ask the new chief minister and his council of ministers to take the oath of office shortly. Thongdok said that the motion was brought in accordance to the apex court judgement on a special leave petition No 4498/1998 so nothing illegal or unconstitutional in the session.
  • On December 16, the Speaker Nabam Rebia issued an order disqualifying 14 rebel Congress MLAs and the following day, he moved the Gawuhati High Court. On January 5, 2015, Justice B K Sarma of the Gauhati High Court stayed the disqualification of the 14 Congress MLAs. The Speaker’s plea for his case to be heard in another court was also turned down.
  • Speaker moved the Supreme Court, which has referred the case to a Constitution bench.
  • On 16 December 2015, Congress president had led a delegation to the President Pranab Mukherjee claiming that the constitutional provisions was being subverted.
  • On December 17, Arunachal CM Nabam Tuki writes to PM and President, asks for intervention in on-going political crisis.
  • On January 15, the apex court referred the entire batch of petitions filed by the Speaker against the Deputy Speaker and others to a Constitution Bench, which is now examining the scope of the discretionary powers of the Governor.
  • State Govt failing to adhere article 174 (1) of Indian Constitution, Central government sought imposition of President’s Rule In the state citing a Constitutional breakdown as six months had lapsed between two sessions of the state.
  • Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge with party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, V Narayanasamy and Arunachal Pradesh CM Nabam Tuki met President Pranab Mukherjee on Arunachal Pradesh issue on 25th January.
  • The President Pranab Mukherjee took his time as he has to examine legal constitutional provisions before he acts on advise of the Union Council of Ministers. After meeting with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, president gave his assent to impose President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh on 26th January.
  • Meanwhile, the petition by Congress challenging the Cabinet decision to impose President’s rule sought an urgent hearing before Chief Justice T S Thakur, at his residence, who directed the matter to be listed for hearing on Wednesday 27th January and during hearing asked for the state governor’s report citing a “Constitutional breakdown” and also asked the Centre to reply to its notice by Friday 29th January. The next hearing is scheduled on 1st February.

What’s the BJP’s role in the state’s political crisis?

MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju said the BJP is not interested in forming a government. Till last week, the Congress rebels claimed they were still with the party.

Implications of President’s rule:

Once President’s rule is imposed, the assembly ceases to function and the state comes under the Central government’s direct control. The assembly is generally kept in suspended animation. The powers of the state assembly become exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament. The executive power shifts from the council of ministers to the governor. Once imposed, President’s rule must be approved by Parliament within a period of two months. It can’t last for more than six months unless its extension is approved by Parliament.

History of Presidential Rule: Article 356

Article 356 of the Constitution of India, which deals with presidential discretionary powers of emergency, has long been the favored topic of political debate and, at times, the cause of much ire within the legal intellectual community in India and political parties. President rule or governor rule is imposed when there is failure of democratic machinery. It has been used by Congress as a political tool than a constitutional provision to keep India intact. 125 times the president’s rule was imposed till 27th January 2016! Read more history of Presidential Rule @ http://wp.me/p1a7az-7v

First misuse of Article 356:

In July 1959, when Jawaharlal Nehru dismissed the EMS Namboodiripad government in Kerala, in spite of the Communist CM having the support of the majority in the House, he started a tradition that has become a bane of Indian democracy. Later, during the 1970s and the Emergency, Indira Gandhi and the Janata government turned Indian democracy into a game of musical chairs by dismissing elected governments just to teach their rivals a lesson, or sneak into power through the backdoor.

Sarkaria Commission set up in June 1983 to examine the relationship and balance of power between state and central governments in the country and suggest changes within the framework of Constitution of India, gave many suggestions to avoid the misuse which have not been implemented by Indian National Congress in last 30 years.

Democracy, in fact, became a relay-race of political farce between 1975 and 1980 when Indira dismissed several non-Congress governments and, in retaliation, the Janata government dismissed most of the Congress government after winning the 1977 election. In 1980, when Indira returned to power, she dismissed governments led by Opposition leaders. The ugly game stopped under Rajiv Gandhi a bit, but only because the Congress emerged victorious in many states during the period. Then in 1992, the PV Narasimha Rao government sacked the BJP governments in four states in the wake of the Ram Mandir agitation.

Conclusion:

Infighting in Congress party, corruption and misgoverance and mismanagement is responsible for the degrading situation in the state and BJP in Centre and Modi is blamed for all!

The state Governor is blamed to call a session of House which State High Court found absolutely constitutional!

Update on 24/02/2016:

Supreme Court has dismissed all the cases filed by Congress party and gave Go Ahead for new Goverment Formation.

Dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn in late last night as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh after more than two months of political crisis, shortly after the Supreme Court paved the way for government formation and President’s rule was lifted from the state.

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