Itanagar: Rebel Congress MLA Kalikho Pul celebrates with supporters after he was elected as" Chief Minister" by 33 legislators in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday. PTI Photo (PTI12_17_2015_000197B)
Itanagar: Rebel Congress MLA Kalikho Pul celebrates with supporters after he was elected as" Chief Minister" by 33 legislators in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday. PTI Photo (PTI12_17_2015_000197B)

Opposition BJP and Congress rebel MLAs gang up to “vote out” CM in ‘Assembly’ session convened at hotel; earlier, they had “impeached” & removed the Speaker .

Itanagar : In a bizarre turn of events, Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs on Thursday got together in a local hotel to “vote out” Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauwhati High Court intervened to keep in “abeyance” the decisions taken at the rebel “session”. Coming down heavily on Governor J P Rajkhowa, the High Court also kept in abeyance all decisions taken by the state “Assembly” on Wednesday in which the group had unceremoniously “removed” Speaker Nabam Rebia. The court order came on a writ petition filed by the Speaker challenging the December 9 notification issued by the Governor advancing the Assembly session to December 16 from the scheduled day of January 24, 2016. The dramatic development came a day after the rebel MLAs “impeached” Speaker Nabam Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall.

On Thursday, the theatre of absurd continued as a “no confidence” motion moved by the rebel outfit against the chief minister was “adopted” with Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the Chair. A total 33 members of the 60-member house, including 20 dissident Congress MLAs, later “elected” another dissident Congressman Kalikho Pul as the new “chief minister” of the state. Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and his 26 loyal MLAs boycotted the proceedings terming them as “illegal and unconstitutional”. The Chief Minister later wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention to “uphold” the Constitution in the face of the “unprecedented murder” of democracy and “bypassing” of a democratically-elected government by Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa.

Meanwhile, the issue rocked both houses of Parliament.  The Rajya Sabha was repeatedly disrupted by the opposition Congress, forcing the chair to adjourn the house for the day after three adjournments.  Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the issue, and questioned the conduct of the Governor.  “How can the sitting of the house take place outside the assembly and in a private house? It has never been done in the history of independent India,” Azad said.  He also accused the central government of destabilising the state government.  Azad said the Governor, by “teaming up with the Centre, instead of protecting the state and the country, is making a sensitive state vulnerable”. “The Central government is supposed to be a protector of the Constitution, instead the Centre is destroying the constitution,” he added .

In the High Court, Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed prima facie that the exercise undertaken by the Governor advancing the Assembly session to December 16, 2015, is in “violation of Article 174 and 175 of the Constitution.   The two Articles relate to Sessions of the state legislature and the right of the Governor to address and send messages to the House. Issuing a notice, Justice Hrishikesh Roy kept in abeyance the impugned decisions including the notification issued by the Deputy Speaker restoring the membership of 14 suspended MLAs and the holding of the “session” at a new place and also the decision taken at the “session” in which the Speaker was removed.   The judge allowed petitioner Kapil Sibal to implead the government of Arunachal Pradesh as a party respondent.  The judge has posted the case for next hearing on February 1, 2016.

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