Constitutional solution to crisis?
The Centre on Wednesday recommended revocation of President’s rule in the state, a day after the Supreme Court refused to restrain the governor from swearing in a new government. Meanwhile, the court on Tuesday refused to restrain Arunchal Pradesh Governor JP Rajkhowa from taking steps for formation of a new government in the State which is now under President’s rule. It is rather unfortunate that a sensitive border state has found itself embroiled in what many consider an artificial Constitutional crisis. Before the imposition of Central rule, the Congress had ruled the State with the support of 47 legislators in the 60-member Assembly. However, resentments against Chief Minister Tuki, who has been caught under a cloud of suspicion over serious corruption charges, began building up last year. Matters came to a head last month when 21 members of the Congress Legislature Party in the State demanded Tuki’s resignation. Although, the Assembly was not in session, Governor JP Rajkhowa stepped in to reschedule it a month ahead of schedule and recommended the dismissal of the Speaker, Nabam Rebia. When the Speaker barred the session from being held in the official Assembly complex, the rebels and 11 members of the BJP convened at a make-shift venue, under the orders of the Governor. At the make-shift venue, where the rebels and BJP legislators convened a “special session” of the Assembly, a motion was passed to impeach the Speaker. The “special session” also saw the passage of a no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister, where he was “defeated” in an unofficial floor test. Backed by Chief Minister Tuki, Nabam Rebia responded by dismissing 14 rebel legislators of the ruling party. Critics of the NDA government have argued that the steps leading up to the Constitutional crisis in Arunachal Pradesh are reminiscent of past attempts at destabilising State governments ruled by Opposition parties, with the Governor playing a partisan role in the entire affair. However, the Congress is not entirely blameless in the matter. There is little doubt that the party avoided a floor test during the entire affair, and made no attempt in court to facilitate it. Moreover, it failed to contain the dissidence within its rank.