President's Rule Imposed In Arunachal Pradesh, Supreme Court To Hear Challenge Petition

25/01/2016 11:47 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Adi tribal women from Arunachal Pradesh in their traditional attire wave to India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a public rally in Pasighat, in east Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh state, India, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. The general elections are scheduled to be held later this year. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

NEW DELHI -- Following a recommendation by the Union Cabinet, President Pranab Mukherjee signed the order to place Congress Party-ruled Arunachal Pradesh under President's Rule on Tuesday.

The Congress Party's petition challenging the imposition of central rule in the northeastern state will be heard by the Supreme Court today.

Mukherjee made his decision shortly after hosting French President Francois Hollande, who was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Congress Party described the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government's move as the "murder of the constitution and democracy" on Republic Day, and an attempt to "nail federalism."

“The constitution and democracy have been murdered on this Republic Day. It is an effort by the government to nail federalism," said Congress Party spokesperson Tom Vadakkan.

"The matter is sub judice and yet the speed with which the cabinet moved and the final decision has been taken is a clear indication that they have no respect for the highest court of the land,” he said.

Not only has the Congress Party in Arunachal Pradesh been plagued with infighting, there is deep mistrust between the government and Governor J.P. Rajkhowa, who is accused of doing the BJP's bidding in the state.

On Dec. 16, lawmakers from the Congress Party and the BJP met at a community centre to impeach Speaker Nabam Rebia, and the next day, they gathered at a hotel to pass a "no confidence" motion against Nabam Tuki-led government.

The rebel lawmakers, who accused Tuki of corruption and mismanagement of the state's resources, then elected Congress Party's Kalikho Pul as the new Chief Minister.

Anticipating trouble, Rebia had ordered the local administration to seal the Assembly premises, but lawmakers were granted permission by Rajkhowa to meet at a makeshift venue.

Both sessions were dismissed as “illegal and unconstitutional" by Rebia and Tuki.

The 60 seat House is made up of 42 Congress Party lawmakers, 11 from the BJP, 5 from the People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) and two Independents. The rebel lawmakers included 20 Congress Party MLAs, 11 BJP lawmakers, and two Independents.

"President of India has signed a Proclamation under article 356(1) of the Constitution, imposing President’s Rule in relation to the State of Arunachal Pradesh and keeping the Legislative Assembly of the State in suspended animation with effect from January 26, 2016," the Home Ministry announced in a statement.

"Taking cognisance of the constitutional breakdown that has taken place in the State of Arunachal Pradesh as reported by the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, the Union Cabinet in its meeting held on January 24, 2016 had recommend to the President of India to issue such proclamation," it said.

While Mukherjee now appears to be convinced about a breakdown of law and order in the state, BJP's political rivals have criticised the imposition of President's Rule.

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