The imposition of President’s Rule (PR) in Arunachal Pradesh on Republic Day was the 30th instance for the eight-state Northeast since 1967. Political instability triggered by dissension and insurgency have primarily been the reasons.
No state has undergone PR as many times as Manipur. The first of its 10 spells – Uttar Pradesh follows with nine – was for 66 days from January 12, 1967 to facilitate the first elections in the state, then a union territory.
Manipur had another bout of PR that year, induced by secessionism and statehood demand led by separatist group United National Liberation Front founded in 1964.
Insurgency of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) kind was responsible for the Prafulla Kumar Mahanta government being dismissed on November 28, 1990. It was the last of the four phases of PR in Assam, violence during the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation having triggered the earlier three between 1979 and 1982.
Nagaland, which has experienced longest spell of insurgency, experienced PR four times like Assam but defection or party-hopping was the reason in each case.
The first of Mizoram’s three brushes with PR for more than a year in 1977 was also due to insurgency. Chhunga had that year quit as chief minister apparently for facilitating peace talks with the underground Mizo National Front led by Laldenga.
Ethnic divisions have caused political instability in Arunachal Pradesh. But unlike the other north-eastern states, it has had the longest break between two instances of PR. The first was for 76 days from November 3, 1979 after more than one-third of the MLAs – the assembly size was 33 then – changed sides several times.