Personal Safety Concerns Played a Role in Rajkhowa Seeking President’s Rule in Arunachal

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Accessed by activist Venkatesh Nayak, the governor’s “top secret” report to the president also details developments in the state before the imposition of president’s rule.

J.P. Rakhowa and Kalikho Pul. Credit: PTI

J.P. Rakhowa and Kalikho Pul. Credit: PTI

The constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday termed Arunachal Pradesh governor J.P. Rajkhowa’s decision to bring forward the legislative assembly session illegal and unconstitutional, paving the way for reinstating the Congress government in the state. A look at the governor’s letter to the president on January 15 gives an impression that he relied more on personal experience than the situation on ground while recommending the imposition of President’s rule in the state.

The letter was accessed by RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak, who had filed a plea to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on January 27, a day after President’s rule was imposed. He argued in his plea that subsequent to the declaration of President’s rule under Article 356 of the constitution, the issue had “become a matter of widespread debate across the country”. “The citizens of India have the right to know all the information specified above in order to be able to better appreciate the facts and circumstances leading to the imposition of president’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh,” his plea continued.

Nayak had also stated that since the proclamation did not contain any details regarding the circumstances leading to the decision, detailed information about it should be provided.

In its response, the MHA on March 22 provided a copy of Rajkhowa’s ‘Report on Failure of Constitutional Machinery in the State of Arunachal Pradesh’ sent to the president of India, which had been marked “top secret”.

In the report, which has been presented in its entirety below, Rajkhowa referred to the manner in which 21 dissident MLAs had “openly revolted” against chief minister Nabam Tuki and how “opposition MLAs comprising 11 from the BJP and 2 independents have extended support to the dissident leader Shri Kalikho Pul to form the next government”. The “State is virtually being run by a Minority Government for past several months,” he continued.

The governor, who also forwarded copies of the report to the vice-president, prime minister and home minister, provided details of the developments that took place on December 15, 16 and 17 (the period to which he had brought forward the assembly session, meant to be held in January). “The law and order machinery,” he said, had “totally collapsed” on December 17.

Referring to the protests against him, Rajkhowa also said in the report that his functioning “as Head of State has been made impossible by CM Nabam Tuki and his Council of Ministers”.  He then gave 12 reasons to support his argument.

In the end, indicating that his personal experience had somehow forced him to file the report, Rajkhowa wrote, “If the Governor and his family do not feel safe and ‘fool proof security’ measures have to be asked for by the Government from the State Administration, Police and the MHA, would life of the common man be security and safe in the present ground conditions…..”

In light of this “extremely grim situation”, he had called for “appropriate and immediate intervention of the President”, saying the “constitutional machinery has already broken down”.

Arunachal Pradesh governor J.P. Rajkhowa's report to the president

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