A jubilant Congress accused the Centre of misusing its power after the Supreme Court restored the party’s government in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday as the BJP attempted to distance itself from what many called a huge embarrassment.
The top court restored the Arunachal Pradesh assembly to December 15 last year, effectively scrapping the NDA administration’s decision to impose President’s Rule in the state. Two months ago, the SC had quashed central rule in Uttarakhand in a similar manner.
“Those who trampled upon constitutional propriety and democratic norms have been defeated today,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi said as her party demanded the resignation of governor JP Rajkhowa.
Her son and vice-president Rahul Gandhi was more aggressive. “Thanks Supreme Court for explaining to the Prime Minister what democracy is,” @OfficeofRG tweeted.
Ousted chief minister Nabam Tuki said the BJP’s “politics of conspiracy” had failed and that he will consult party legislators before deciding on a future course of action.
“The verdict is historic. It paves way to protect healthy democracy in the country.”
But the BJP refused to bow, saying the developments in Arunachal were the result of faction fights in the Congress and that the saffron party only supported the rebels.
“Congress misused the Article 356 many times. Emergency is again an example,” said BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli.
Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, who came back to power after winning a trust vote, described the verdict as a boost for cooperative federalism. “Presidential powers were misused in Uttarakhand and Arunachal,” he said.
The SC verdict is also likely to resonate in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament with smaller parties uniting against the NDA. Signs of that were seen on Wednesday with the Left Front and Aam Aadmi Party condemning the Centre.
“SC judgment yet another tight slap on dictatorial Modi govt. Hope Modiji would learn n now stop interfering in democratically elected govts,” Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
The CPI-M said the judgment posed a question of political morality and accountability for the BJP-led government. “The CPI-M wants the central government to stop its growing authoritarian tendency of invoking central rule in states that have governments of opposition parties,” the party said in a statement.
Read the verdict below.