ITANAGR: Arunachal Pradesh Governor J P Rajkhowa today denied that he was favouring any political party as alleged by the camp of the deposed Chief Minister of the state which is under President's rule now.
"There was no covert or overt attempt on the part of Raj Bhawan to favour any political party or person as the matter is already in court," a Raj Bhawan statement said. The Congress yesterday accused Rajkhowa of conspiring to help dissident MLAs form a government with the support of BJP without waiting for a decision of the Supreme Court which is hearing petitions challenging imposition of President's rule in the state.
The Raj Bhawan statement clarified that the Governor had never sought a report from the state law department on whether Deputy Speaker T N Thongdok can perform the duties of a Speaker when President's rule is in place in the state. The clarification came following claims that Thongdok, a dissident Congress leader, had sought the opinion of law department through the Governor asking if he can function as deputy speaker performing the duties of Speaker, based on which Rajkhowa sought a report from the law department.
The claim was made in New Delhi by Geetartha Darshan Barua, spokesperson of deposed Chief Minister Nabam Tuki. The Raj Bhawan statement said, on February 2 the Governor's secretary Joram Beda received a fax from the personal secretary of the Deputy Speaker stating that Thongdok is arriving in Guwahati from New Delhi and requested the Assembly secretariat to provide his official vehicle along with pilot and driver.
But the secretary refused to provide vehicles as the state is under President's rule. "On the same day, Thongdok called Beda over telephone and informed that Legislative Assembly is not allowing him to use his official vehicle to which Beda informed him that he may only use the official vehicle that he is entitled to as an MLA," the statement said. Beda, after appraising the governor of the issue, wrote to the Chief Secretary on February 4 requesting him to direct the Assembly Secretary to allow Thongdok use the official vehicle entitled to him for official use only and to provide vehicle meant for security to him as per the recommendation of Standing Committee on security.
"Accordingly, Secretary Parliamentary Affairs wrote a letter to Secretary Legislative Assembly with directions. Following this, Thongdok sent an email on February 3 to the Governor secretariat with a note on 'Deputy Speaker performing functions of Speaker continuing in office when the proclamation under Article 356 is operative in relation to Arunachal Pradesh'," the statement said.
The Speaker's office is vacant as per the Gauhati High Court order dated January 13, 2016. The statement said, Thongdok in his note made references to the decision of Gauhati High Court and articles of the Constitution. Beda emailed Thongdok back asking Thongdok to refer the matter to Secretary Law for comments and opinion with a copy to the Governor, it said.
It was known after inquiry that the Deputy Speaker sent a letter to the Secretary (Law) but, no copy of that letter was sent to the Governor, the statement said adding Rajkhowa came to know about the said letter from Thongdok only through media reports. The statement said a showcase notice has been issued to the deputy secretary of the Raj Bhawan as to how he failed to send a copy of the letter to the Governor and as to why the letter sent to Secretary (Law) was not approved by the Secretary or the Governor.
A revolt by the dissidents led to a political crisis in the state that finally resulted in the imposition of President's rule on January 26.