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BJP, Cong rebel MLAs ‘impeach’ Arunachal Assembly Speaker

The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution to ‘impeach’ Speaker Nabam Rebia by a voice vote and signatured consent of 33 members, including 20 rebel Congress MLAs, 11 of BJP and two independents, in a vote boycotted by the supporters of Chief Minister Nabam Tuki.

Twenty-seven members of the House, including the Chief Minister, his ministerial colleagues and 16 Congress MLAs abstained from the proceedings chaired by Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok, held at the makeshift venue of a community hall after the district administration ‘sealed’ the Assembly Secretariat Complex apprehending law and order problem.

Amid high drama, 34 MLAs seeking removal of the Speaker, including his deputy Thongdok, met at the community hall for the session.

Thongdok called out the name of Rebia to enable him offer a clarification, if any, on the impeachment notice but the Speaker was not present. The resolution was then put to vote and was supported by 20 dissident Congress MLAs, barring the Deputy Speaker who did not vote, 11 of BJP and two independents. All 33 of them also put their signature of consent on the resolution, which was then declared passed.

Arunachal Pradesh has a 60-member Assembly. Tension prevailed around the Assembly complex which was sealed by the district administration.

Police lobbed four tear gas shells to disperse supporters of the rival Congress factions, who laid a virtual siege to the House. Stones were hurled by the two sides which damaged a vehicle. Eleven BJP MLAs and two independents had served the notice for impeachment motion against the Speaker on November 19 to the Assembly secretary.

Earlier, moving the impeachment motion, Leader of the Opposition Tamiyo Taga of BJP said, “The Speaker has failed to perform his duty as a neutral person and allowed business of the house as per his whims. He always shows bias against the opposition members.” 

He said Speaker Rebia accepted the resignation of two Congress members Gabriel D Wangsu and Wanglam Sawin – without verifying the fact as they were “forced to sign” their resignation letters by CM Nabam Tuki.

Taga also alleged there were cases pending against the Speaker.

“The Speaker has appointed a large number of staff in the Assembly without following the established rules. We are demanding an impartial enquiry against him which is possible only if he is removed from the chair,” the opposition leader added. Thongdok later claimed the disqualification of 14 Congress MLAs, including him, by the Speaker on Tuesday was “illegal” and amounted to “murder of democracy”.
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