Governor says constitutional crisis in Arunachal, Congress demands recall (Roundup)

New Delhi/Guwahati, Dec 18 (IANS) Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoiti Prasad Rajkhowa on Friday said the state was facing a “constitutional crisis” as well as law and order problems while the Congress continued protests in parliament over his “unconstitutional actions” and demanded his recall.

Rajkhowa told the media at Assam’s Tezpur that there are a lot of problems in the northeastern border state.

“It is a constitutional crisis and law and order problem. ..Why am I blamed? What wrong have I done? Law and order is not under control in the state and jungle raj prevails there,” he said, a day after the Gauhati High Court ordered proceedings of the state assembly be suspended till February 1.

On Thursday, 34 legislators, including Deputy Speaker T. Norbu Thongdok, 20 dissident Congress legislators, 11 of the BJP and two Independents participated in the “winter session” of the assembly at a hotel conference hall and passed a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and his council of ministers.

Having removed Speaker Nabam Rebia a day earlier, they chose Kalikho Pul as the new chief minister.

Rajkhowa, who had Thursday said he was likely to appeal the high court order, said on Friday that the ministers had shouted and pointed fingers at him.

“The chief minister was there, the home minister was there. They did not misbehave with me but with the governor of the state. They also threatened me,” he said, adding six state ministers were present at a sit in in front of Raj Bhavan on Thursday night and the home minister supervised it.

In Delhi, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, who head the party in the two houses of parliament, demanded recall of Rajkhowa, contending the GauhatiHigh Court had indicted him and vindicated the party’s stance on his “unconstitutional” actions.

Azad said the governor, who is the guardian of the constitution, “has been held responsible for unconstitutional things”.

“If the head of the state is not working as per the constitution… we demand that the governor should be recalled,” he said.

He also accused the BJP-led government of trying to topple the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh. “We have no faith in central government when it comes to delivery of justice,” Azad said.

Azad referred to court’s prima facie observation and said the governor’s decision to “prepone the assembly session without the advice of chief minister…taints the governor’s order and renders it unworthy of state’s constitutional head”.

Referring to the governor sending a message on a pending resolution for removal of the speaker, he said the court had observed that “this appears to be an act of exceeding the jurisdiction.”

He said at another point the court had observed that “the impugned steps taken by the state’s governor…reflects the non neutral role of the constitutional head and this is undermining the democratic process”.

Kharge told reporters that they did not get chance to speak on the issue in the Lok Sabha and Congress members staged a walk-out. “It is very unfortunate. If the government runs the house like this, it will create problems,” he said.

In the Rajya Sabha, proceedings were disrupted for the fifth day on Friday as Congress members demanded the governor’s ouster.

As soon as the house met for the day, Azad, who is Leader of Opposition, sought a discussion over the issue.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said the motion is pending with Chairman Hamid Ansari and the issue can be discussed once the motion is admitted.

Congress members started raising slogans. The house saw several adjournments with Congress finding support from several other opposition parties including Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and Janata Dal-United.

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