Arunachal Pradesh governor and former Assam chief secretary Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa has decided to challenge the Gauhati high court reprieve for Nabam Tuki’s Congress government that is technically in a minority.
In a communiqué, Rajkhowa said he has highest regards for the independence of the judiciary but was surprised by the high court staying proceedings of the state assembly that had already passed a no-confidence motion against the council of ministers led by Tuki.
The proceedings of the assembly took place much before the single-judge bench passed the order against his December 9 order, the governor pointed out.
Through that order, the governor had under Article 174(1) of the Constitution advanced the session of the 60-member assembly from January 14-16 next year to December 16-18.
Rajkhowa was “also surprised” that the court, “without going through records and materials available in the governor’s secretariat”, cast aspersion on him for allegedly having taken the side of a party.
The governor, the communiqué said, was “pained to observe that no notice or opportunity was given” to him or his secretariat of the writ petition filed in the court on behalf of the “removed” speaker Nabam Rebia.
“That way, the governor feels that an opportunity was not given to him to defend his order,” it said.
The governor has decided to appeal against the court order “for which legal options are under examination”.
The Tuki camp has 26 Congress MLAs while 21 rebels are with former finance minister Kalikho Pul. These 21, backed by 11 BJP and two Independent legislators, had elected Pul their “chief minister” on Thursday after “impeaching” Rebia in makeshift assembly halls.
A local tribal organisation has labelled Rajkhowa as “anti-Nyishi” and said his “hatred” for the ethnic community was responsible for the current socio-political turmoil in the state. It also accused junior Union home Kiren Rijiju, a BJP parliamentarian from Arunachal, of “orchestrating the entire episode”.
Tuki belongs to the Nyishi tribe, and state capital Itanagar falls in the Nyishi tribal domain.
Pul, who is from another tribe in Anjaw district in the southern part of the state, wants the capital shifted.
According to the Nyishi Elite Society (NES), Rajkhowa has continued his agenda against the Nyishis from the days when he was the administrative head of the Assam government. “During his tenure as chief secretary, Rajkhowa made the highest eviction drive and encroachment of Arunachal territory by the Assam forest and police forces,” said Bengia Tolum, the NES president.
He also accused Pul of “spitting venom against the Nyishi community”.