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Baffled Tuki says appointing disqualified Pul as Arunachal CM malafide, unconstitutional


New Delhi : Ousted Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki on Saturday said that he was simply amazed by the brazen and strong-arm behaviour of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre and his “politically appointed” governor with regard to appointing a “disqualified non-Congress Party member” as the ninth chief minister of the remote north eastern state.

Addressing the media in the national capital, Tuki described the roles of the Centre and Governor J.P. Rajkhowa as “unconstitutional, unprofessional, illegal and malafide” in intent, and added that he was severely pained to see specific articles of the Indian Constitution being violated in such a blatant manner. He also said that he had never heard of a ruling party and the opposition joining hands to form a government in a state in a democratic country like India.

“Today is the statehood day of Arunachal Pradesh, where people have to celebrate. The entire world is watching what they (the rebels, the Centre and the Governor) are doing since day one. What was the hurry to suddenly revoke President’s rule and swear in a new government? Why could not they wait? This is injustice and illegal way of running the government at the Centre,” Tuki said.

He said what was even more amazing was the way the Centre had shown the Supreme Court utter disrespect and disregard in a shameless, presumptuous, brash and unabashed manner, on a matter that was still in a sub-judice state, and critical to the future of Arunachal Pradesh and its people.

“This was the Raj Bhawan, where the head of a state, who has to protect the Constitution, democracy, state and its people is doing partition rule in the state. Ultimately, he has damaged all the forces and the systems…not only the Constitution, but the entire community in the state,” Tuki said.

“I would like to appeal to the Government of India, the President of India, to protect the state, since it is a border state. The way the Governor has shown disrespect for the Constitution…how he can give justice to the people of the state,” he added.

When asked why the Congress Party had not been able to prevent a split within its state unit, Tuki countered by saying that there was no split in the state unit of the party, as he still had 26 of the 45 MLAs backing him, and the people who had formed the present government in the state, had already been disqualified by the Congress Party and were no longer its members.

Asked what the next steps would be, Tuki said he would wait for the Supreme Court to pronounce its judgment first. Once that was out of the way, he said that his supporters and he would take every possible measure available to them under the law to remove the government of incumbent Chief Minister Kalikho Pul.

“I led the government and we got highest majority in the last Lok Sabha…42 out of 60 under my leadership. The government was running effectively and smoothly. There was lot of aspirations which were even fulfilled to the people. The people were very happy,” the former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister said.

“We have implemented several social schemes, benefitting 14 lakh people. Arunachal was the number five state in the country for giving power to the people by empowering Panchayati schemes. Five years before our state was number 27, and after five years, we became the fifth-ranked state in the country,” Tuki added.

“The Government of India recognised Arunachal as the best disciplined and maintained state. So, whatever allegations they have made are wrong. I deny all allegations (of him being a promoter of a terrorist group or having links with terrorists). Just after the appointment of the new governor by a BJP-led government at the Centre, there has been a one point agenda — just to topple the elected government in the state. The Raj Bhawan was functioning like a BJP office headquarter,” Tuki said.

Former Member of Parliament from the state Takam Sanjoy said that what has been happening over the previous ten months was virtually comparable to a functional martial law regime under Governor Rajkhowa. He emphatically stated that the illegal actions of the governor amounted to “a murder of democracy, a murder of the Constitution of India, a murder of the faith and aspirations of the people of Arunachal Pradesh, a murder and slaughter of a duly elected state government.”

In a fairly grim warning and appeal, Sanjoy said, “Don’t turn the peaceful state of Arunachal Pradesh into another Jammu and Kashmir. We are not aliens, we are Indians; we are very much a part of the democratic nation of India. What has happened is blatant political injustice.”

Tuki’s response to developments in Itanagar, came a day after he had written a letter to Governor J. P. Rajkhowa, urging him to reinstate him as chief minister, as he was the leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the state.

He also asserted that his council of ministers should be restored as it was before the imposition of the President’s rule in the state.

He strongly objected to the midnight swearing-in of disqualified Congress Party leader Kalikho Pul as the state’s ninth chief minister.

On his part, Pul said, “The expansion of the cabinet will happen after a thorough discussion with my fellow ministers and his Excellency. We want to thank the President for taking timely action over the law and order problem that has lasted here. He acted swiftly by imposing the President’s rule, and after that, the Governor handled the situation quite well, even the public is happy now.”

He said development would be top priority for him as chief minister, and added that he is ready to engage with Tuki to sort out existing differences. Tuki, however, said, there was no question of him engaging with a “disqualified” politician. (ANI)

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