On a day when senior Congress leaders called on President Pranab Mukherjee and told him that any move to swear in dissident Kalikho Pul as the Arunachal Chief Minister would be unconstitutional, it was learnt on Tuesday that the Union Cabinet could recommend revocation of President’s Rule in the state as early as Wednesday.
The Union Home Ministry is awaiting a report from Governor J P Rajkhowa on the latest situation in the state after 31 MLAs led by Congress dissident Pul — 18 Congress rebels, 11 from the BJP and two Independents — met him on Monday and staked claim to form the government.
According to sources, Rajkhowa’s report is expected soon, and if it suggests formation of a new government, the home ministry could put up a note before Wednesday’s scheduled meeting of the Union Cabinet. Urging him not to act on the government’s advice to withdraw President’s Rule, the Congress leaders told Mukherjee that the Governor has “acted unconstitutionally and out of line.”
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The delegation comprised Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, AICC general secretary V Narayanasamy, Anand Sharma, and Kapil Sibal. Sibal said the Governor had on Monday said that if the proclamation for imposition of President’s Rule is withdrawn, a new stable government could be put in place now that Pul has staked claim.
“We are very concerned,” Sibal said. “The Governor acted unconstitutionally and out of line. Pul and others are less than two-third (of the total strength of the Congress in assembly) and unless two-third (MLAs) of the Congress merge with another party they would be disqualified under the tenth schedule,” he said.
“Any act of the Centre to swear in Pul would not just be unconstitutional but unheard of, perpetuating a constitutional illegality. The Governor should not be a party to it…the home minister and Union (government) should not be party to it.”
A memorandum submitted by the party said: “We humbly request you not to take into consideration any such recommendation from the home ministry as the modus operandi to withdraw the proclamation is primarily to render the proceedings pending before the Supreme Court infructuous. Any alteration of the status quo will be detrimental to accepted democratic norms. The office of the President should not be brought into controversy by such ill-advised action.”