Cong says Modi govt 'trampling' on democracy, to move court

Cong says Modi govt 'trampling' on democracy, to move court

Congress today said it will challenge in court Cabinet's recommendation for imposing President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh if it gets presidential assent, as the party lashed out at Narendra Modi government accusing it of "trampling" on democracy.

The "very wrong" step has exposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "double-speak" on federalism, the party alleged and warned the government that it will pay a "heavy price" for it.

"Modi government's decision to impose President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh reflects travesty of Constitutional mandate, subjugation of federalism and trampling of democracy," AICC Communication Department Chief Randeep Surjewala said
"Modiji's double speak of respect for federalism and states being equal part of 'Team India' stands exposed," he said.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the party will move court and alleged that the step shows that Modi is "fountain head" of political intolerance.

"We will challenge it.... This bypassing the matter which is being heard by the Supreme Court.... President is Constitutional head he will apply his mind and will take appropriate decision," Sibal told reporters.

He was asked whether the party will challenge in court the decision taken by the government on imposition of President's rule in Congress-ruled Arunachal.

"Government has taken a very wrong step. There cannot be possibly any wrong step than this. The Governor had embarrassed himself and now the government is embarrassing itself. They will pay a heavy price," he remarked.

The reaction came after Union Cabinet today recommended imposition of President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh which is facing political turmoil.

Sibal, a former Law Minister and a noted lawyer, claimed that that government has taken the step apprehending that they are not going to succeed in the Supreme Court.

"They have taken the step despite knowing well the decision on President's rule cannot get approval of Parliament as they do not have majority in the Rajya Sabha," Sibal said.

"This is an act of political intolerance by government which talks of cooperative federalism," he said

He lamented that the Modi dispensation was resorting to such tactics in a border-state like Arunachal Pradesh.

"They are trying to destabilize a state bordering China," he alleged. 

Surjewala said it shows 'scant regard' of Supreme Court by Modi government.

"It shows scant regard of Supreme Court by Modi government, particularly when the entire issue of BJP engineered coercive defections is being heard by a Constitution Bench," he said.

The party said it will oppose the decision. "Congress party will decisively fight undermining of elected mandate by autocratic attempts of BJP's union government," he said.

Drawing a parallel between the step and the dismissal of Congress governments in nine states in the 1970s by the then Janata party dispensation, Surjewala, "Is BJP attempting a repeat of 1977 when Janata Party government had dismissed nine Congress ruled state governments. Congress party will decisively fight these."

Last month, the state's Congress government lost a "no trust motion" passed by a group of rebel Congress and BJP lawmakers at an assembly "session" held on December 16-17 at a hotel.

Of the 47 Congress lawmakers in the 60-member assembly, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki has the support of 26. Tuki has alleged that Governor Rajkhowa, acting as a "BJP agent", helped the rebel Congress lawmakers in their bid to topple his government by convening the assembly session ahead of time.

On January 14, the Gauhati High Court cancelled its earlier order keeping in abeyance the decisions made by the two-day session, during which Speaker Nabam Rebia had been "impeached" as well. The Assembly sessions were held at other venues after the government sealed the Assembly building.

The Supreme Court has referred a bunch of petitions on the Arunachal Pradesh crisis to a Constitution Bench. 

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