NEW DELHI: In fire-fighting mode, the entire top brass of the Congress led by Sonia Gandhi landed on President Pranab Mukherjee’s doorstep on Wednesday to demand recall of the Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa on the grounds that he has been interfering in the running of the Congress-led State government there.
The issue already featured on the floor of the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday with the Congress forcing several adjournments citing how the Arunachal Pradesh Governor had moved to virtually sack another constitutional functionary, the Speaker of the State Assembly.
On Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi, along with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Leaders of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, submitted a memorandum demanding Rajkhowa’s removal. They further alleged that the Governor was acting at the behest of the Central government in Delhi.
The Congress State government has for some time been complaining that Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijuju, who is from Arunachal Pradesh, has been back-seat driving developments in that state. It has also been alleged that Rijuju been using the Rajbhavan and the Governor to push his agenda, including the calling of central forces into the state without the knowledge of the Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and engineering the defection of Congress members.
Since, the North East is one of the few Congress bastions yet to fall to the BJP, the grand old party’s leadership has been zealously guarding their turf. It could, however, be noted here that Tuki came to power replacing his predecessors by engineering defections.
“It is a matter of regret that unconstitutional actions are being taken by the Arunachal Pradesh Governor on the directions of the Central government,” Azad alleged, in the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt on Wednesday.
He said the State Assembly was to convene on January 14 but the Governor preponed it to December 16 without consulting CM Nabam Tuki.
Azad said the Governor had also sought the removal of the Speaker though he enjoyed the support of the majority in the Arunachal assembly.
“Such a thing has happened for the first time in the country,” Azad said. The Congress leader also said the Governor had requisitioned central forces to the state without the chief minister’s knowledge.
“An attempt is being made to destabilise an elected government in a sensitive border state,” Azad said.