The members of the Opposition Congress attacked the government in Rajya Sabha on Thursday over the dismissal of governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The House saw a face-off between the Congress and the government, with the main Opposition party alleging “trampling” of democracy by the BJP-led government which hit back by reminding that the Congress had “butchered” democracy by misusing Article 356 about 100 times.
The Congress pressed for a statement and “apology” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dismissing the party’s governments in Arunachal Pradesh in December last year and then in Uttarakhand in January.
During the debate, several members questioned the need for having a Governor and sought a review of the Article under which Governors are appointed.
After about four-and-a-half hours of discussion, a reply by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju was disrupted by the Congress which said it cannot allow him to speak as he was allegedly involved in the toppling of the Arunachal Pradesh government.
Mr. Rijiju was replying to the discussion on the ‘Developments in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh leading to the change in the ruling dispensations in the States and the role of the Governors there’ on behalf of Home Minister Rajnath Singh who was on a visit to Pakistan.
Amid the din created by the Congress, Mr. Rijiju said the protest was “unfortunate and exposes the hollowness of the basis on which the Congress has tried to make this as an issue”.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said Mr. Rijiju’s hailing from Arunachal does not disqualify him from replying to a debate. Claiming that some Congress members were “misleading” the House and the country, Mr. Rijiju said that it is being said that some RSS workers had been appointed as Governors in the three States, but Lt. Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung was appointed by the UPA government. Similarly, Uttarakhand Governor K.K. Paul has also been appointed by the last government at the Centre. Arunachal Pradesh Governor Tathagata Roy was the former Assam Chief Secretary and was “never aligned with any of the political parties or any ideology”, he added.
‘Insult to democracy’
What happened in the two States was “brazen violation of Constitution” and “insult to democracy”, said Deputy Leader of the Congress Anand Sharma.
Questioning the role of Governors, the former Minister said he or she is “not supposed to interfere in day-to-day functioning…take unilateral decisions… Constitution was not respected…It is insult to people’s mandate.”