Updated: July 15, 2016 7:25:19 am
A DAY after the Supreme Court restored the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh, acting Governor Tathagata Roy on Thursday asked Chief Minister Nabam Tuki to prove his majority on the floor of the House by July 16. Tuki, however, said he needed more time.
Roy, who is holding additional charge as Governor J P Rajkhowa is on medical leave, has said the House proceedings should be videographed.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Tuki said he would sail through the floor test, but needed “at least 10 to 15 days”. After arriving in Itanagar from Delhi on Thursday afternoon, Tuki went straight to the Chief Minister’s Office where he took the guard of honour.
“I will get the required numbers. With the Supreme Court’s order to maintain status quo ante as on December 15, 2015, all those who rebelled are also Congress members. Legally, they are not PPA (People’s Party of Arunachal) members. I am in touch with many of them, and I will also speak to Kalikho Pul if required,” said Tuki.
“The Supreme Court order also means the Congress strength is 45. I have already appealed to all those who joined the other camp to come back and take part in the floor test. All of them will now have to abide by the CLP decision,” he said, adding that the House strength as on December 15 was 58 (two MLAs had resigned).
The strength of the breakaway faction has swelled after Kalikho Pul took charge as Chief Minister on February 20. As many as 29 MLAs merged with the People’s Party of Arunachal, the lone regional party in the state, in March.
When reminded that the dissidents’ main demand was his replacement as CLP leader, Tuki said it was up to the party leadership to decide. “As of now, there is no question of stepping down. But since the Congress is a large family, which may have a tu-tu-main-main among its members once in a while, we will have to find a solution,” he said. “I am not the authority. The party leadership is the authority,” he added.
“The BJP, whose agenda is to oust the Congress from the Northeast, is trying to mislead the (rebel) MLAs… But I am in touch with most of them, and I am confident that they will all return to the party fold soon,” said Tuki.
But a BJP leader in Delhi said they were confident that Tuki would not pass the floor test. “Tuki won’t be able to get the numbers, because the rebels are not going back,” said the party leader.
“42 out of total 58 MLAs are holding a press conference in Guwahati I am told. They all say they are against Tuki. Let Tuki face floor test,” tweeted BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who has been handling the party’s affairs in the Northeast.
“We are ensuring that those rebels who backed Kalikho Pul remain rebels, and do not go back to the Congress,” said a party leader. The BJP has 11 MLAs in the state, who gave outside support to the Pul government.
A senior BJP leader said neither PM Narendra Modi nor his government want the party to play an active role because “it could be seen like the Centre is in confrontation with the judiciary.”
—with ens delhi
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