News by YKA Staff:
The political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh is likely to affect the functioning of the Parliament which will convene in less than a month’s time for the Budget Session. The BJP-led NDA has an ambitious legislative agenda that it wants to push through, especially the Goods and Services Tax bill and the Parliament getting derailed will make it very difficult for them to go ahead with it.
Citing a “senior Opposition leader”, a report in The Hindu Thursday stated that the Parliament session was bound to be stalled over the issue.
In brief, the political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh is related to the rebellion of 21 Congress MLAs of the ruling Congress last year which put the Nabam Tuki government at risk. The Congress had 47 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly. The BJP has 11 MLAs. The BJP MLAs and the rebel Congress MLAs came together to get the Speaker Nabam Rebia out of his post by moving a No-Confidence motion in November.
Subsequently, Rebia disqualified 14 rebel MLAs of the Congress. However, following directions from the governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa, the Assembly met in December, earlier than officially scheduled; the BJP holds that this was a constitutional necessity as the Assembly had to be convened within the six months period after it last met. At the meeting, the deputy Speaker presided and ‘revoked’ the disqualification of the 14 rebel MLAs and also ‘removed’ the Speaker from his post.
Subsequently, the Congress moved the Supreme Court which is expected to take up the matter the coming Monday, February 1. Meanwhile, the Central government has imposed President’s rule in the state under article 356 of the Indian Constitution. According to reports, the “complete breakdown of governance” is one of the major reasons behind the imposition of President’s rule in the state. The slaughter of a bison in front of the Governor’s residence by Congress legislators, to protest his actions, has also been cited in this regard.
The Congress has received support on the issue from other parties too. Both AIDMK and BJD had backed the party’s stand on the matter in the Winter session of the Parliament. Recently, the JDU also came out in support of the Congress. As it is, the BJP lacks a majority in the Rajya Sabha.
Adding to the imbroglio, on Friday the BJP chief of Arunachal Pradesh Taj Tagak claimed that the party was ready to face mid-term poll if the situation compelled.
Dwelling on the circumstances which led to imposition of Central rule in the state, the BJP president while quoting Constitutional experts, said there was a failure of the constitutional machinery after the state assembly failed to meet for over six months.
“There is a constitutional requirement that there should not be a gap of more than six months between two sessions of a state assembly. If there is a gap of more than six months, there is certainly a constitutional crisis,” Tagak said quoting former Lok Sabha secretary general P. T. D. Achari.
He said the last session was held in May last year and the next session should be convened by the second week of November last.
“According to Article 174 (1) of the Constitution, there should not be a gap of more than six months between the assembly’s last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session,” he said.
“The legality of the session conducted on December 16 and 17 last by Deputy Speaker T N Thongdok is under question before a constitution bench of the Supreme Court,” he pointed.
He said, when people of the state were suffering, being the responsible opposition party, the BJP was compelled to bring an impeachment motion against Speaker Nabam Rebia, he clarified responding to the allegations that the party had supported the rival Congress camp to destabilise the government.
It is quite likely the BJP will find it difficult to defend the imposition of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh when the Parliament convenes, if the Opposition maintains the unity it is currently displaying.