The political tussle between the Congress and the BJP in the North eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh has led to a disturbing instability in the state and turmoil.
The Governor had sent ‘multiple’ reports to the centre maintaining the ‘complete breakdown’ of governance and law and order in the state following which the President’s rule was imposed by the Centre on January 25. The Congress led state government alleged that the Governor’s move was politically driven and that he was misusing the office of the Governor by converting it into BJP office. The party had approached the Supreme Court maintaining that the President’s rule wasn’t therefore necessary in the state citing the absence of any such political turmoil. BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha also critisised the Centre’s ‘hurry and worry’ in imposing the President’s rule when the matter was already being heard by the apex court and said the move questioned the political ethics of the BJP. In the elections held simultaneously to the Lok Sabha and the State Assembly, the BJP won the Parliament seats and the Congress, who won absolute majority in the polls, went on to rule the state. The BJP who was upset over the majority victory of the Congress has been trying to topple them through political horse trading since then. While the BJP made attempts to destabilize the state government by backing its 21 Congress MLAs who rebelled against the party, the Congress has been trying to tackle it legally as well as through similar political games. The last assembly session was convened six months ago in July 21 with the deadline for convening the session passing on January 21. No assembly was convened during the winter session as well. There has been no opportunity so far to present the no-confidence motion against the Speaker by the Opposition as per the suggestions of the Governor.
The state government alleged that the Governor advanced the winter session of the state assembly which was scheduled to take place in January 2016 to December 16 without consulting the Chief Minister or his council of ministers. Making the no-confidence motion against the Speaker as top priority in the agenda was also critisised. The instances cited by the Governor for the breakdown of law and order in the state paints a pathetic picture of him playing on behalf of the BJP. Images of cow-slaughter performed outside Raj Bhavan usually carried out by the people during special occasions and creating chaos in front of the Governor’s residence using loudspeakers were cited as proofs in the letters to the Centre for justifying the proclamation of emergency. But the statements of the BJP leaders itself make it clear that all these are pointless arguments to hold on to. The BJP is aware of the difficulty in securing the support of the Parliament for imposing the President’s rule in the state. The party therefore is evidently trying to take control of power by securing a majority in the sixty-member assembly using two independents for the 11 MLA party. Imposition of President’s rule was recommended as an interval of relief.
The observations that the central government has been eyeing Arunachal, a flourishing market of hydel projects also holds relevant. A huge and appalling industry of Hydel projects neglecting the environmental concerns and exploiting the nature of the Himalayan state overtly and covertly has been functioning in the state. The state government, over the last decade, has signed more than 150 memorandums of understanding for big and small hydel power projects that could turn Arunachal into a region with one of the greatest concentration of dams in the world. All these projects have been stalled. The private companies like Jindal are exerting pressure on the government for partially adopting the projects. At the same time, underworld lobby that runs their business by garnering shares using these memorandums of understanding signed instead of implementing the projects after signing them are becoming rampant in the state. The appointment and dismissal of ministers in the Congress are controlled by the vested interests of this Hydel project lobby. The current crisis in Arunachal shows the extent to which the BJP can move in order to come to power in the state; that too, amidst the potential threats posed by the neighbouring China. The party usually triggers anxiety by citing border security and threats from neighbouring countries. The unnecessary political crisis created in Arunachal is an apt answer to the question whether what is most important for the BJP, the political stability of the border states or the vested interests of the party.