Arunachal verdict: BJP counters Congress’ ‘baseless’ charges

New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday downplayed the Congress’ accusations of toppling elected governments in states ruled by the grand old party and said the Arunachal Pradesh verdict is not a setback for the Centre.

Dubbing the Congress’ allegations as baseless, BJP spokesperson Shrikant Sharma said the apex court’s verdict is in no way a setback for the saffron party in Arunachal.

“The court has given a verdict and we haven’t received a copy of the judgment yet. There were differences within the Congress in Arunachal Pradesh after which a group of MLAs separated itself from the government. We don’t have a government there, so to say that we have got a setback in the state is wrong,” said Sharma.

“There is a leadership crisis in Congress, be it in Arunachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. The BJP has nothing to do with it. The Congress’ allegations that BJP is trying to topple democratically elected governments is baseless. The Congress should first fix problems within the party. It will be soon seen in the floor test whether the Congress has majority or not,” he added.

In a major setback to the BJP-ruled Centre, the apex court earlier today quashed “message and direction” issued by the Arunachal Pradesh Governor and restored status quo as on December 15 when Congress’ Nabam Tuki was the chief minister.

A five-judge constitution bench pronounced the verdict on a bunch of petitions dealing with discretionary powers of the governor to summon or advance the assembly session.

Stating the governor’s direction on conducting assembly proceedings is unconstitutional, the apex court set aside all steps and decision taken by the legislative assembly pursuant to the governor’s December 9th last year order and said they are unsustainable.

The Supreme Court had earlier in February reserved its judgement in the case for today. The apex court had said the verdict will not only have its effect on Arunachal Pradesh, but affect every state.

Just before the court had reserved its verdict, rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn-in as the ninth chief minister of the state. He got the support of 18 dissident Congress MLAs and two independents, with 11 BJP MLAs giving him outside support.

Arunachal Pradesh had been under President’s Rule since January 26.

Tuki-led Congress government was dismissed following days of turmoil after 21 of its 47 lawmakers rebelled against the chief minister.

The Congress, which had 47 MLAs seats in the 60-member assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of its lawmakers rebelled. Eleven BJP MLAs backed the rebels in the bid to upstage the government. Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified. (ANI)