The Supreme Court’s ruling restoring former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s Congress-led government in Arunachal Pradesh came as a jolt for both current Chief Minister Kalikho Pul and the BJP which supports his government, but both struck a defiant stance in the face of this legal reverse.
Mr. Pul, attending the first big conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the north-eastern offshoot of the NDA, in the company of BJP president Amit Shah, said that he would file a review petition and that he still enjoyed the majority in the Assembly. “We will file a review petition. My government has the numbers in the Assembly,” he said.
In Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met with BJP spokespersons at his North Block office to take them through various aspects of the SC ruling, after which the party formulated a defiant response to the situation.
BJP’s national secretary Shrikant Sharma said that the ruling was vichitra or strange and had created a situation where “those who have the numbers are being asked to sit in the Opposition while those who don’t have a majority are being asked to form a government. Democracy runs on numbers and those are with Kalikho Pul.”
He said the Congress’ attitude of blaming the political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh on the BJP was flawed. “What happened in Arunachal was a product of a factional fight within the Congress. Because of this, a faction within the party broke away and formed the government, and we supported the breakaway faction,” he added.
The party feels that the Arunachal Pradesh matter cannot be equated with Uttarakhand where Chief Minister Harish Rawat had the numbers. “Here, very clearly Nabam Tuki did not have the numbers. The Governor’s role in such situations is to ensure that no horse trading takes place. We are not going to go on the defensive in Parliament on this matter,” said a senior Minister in the Modi government. (With PTI inputs)