Itanagar: In an unprecedented development, the winter session of the Arunachal Pradesh legislative assembly was held at a community hall on Wednesday with participation of only 34 legislators including the deputy speaker on the chair. Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and 26 Congress legislators including the speaker boycotted the session terming it “unconstitutional”.
The problem started after Governor J.P. Rajkhowa convened the winter session from Wednesday instead of its normal schedule on January 14 next year.
Chief Minister Tuki and his supporters opposed the holding of the winter session and abstained from it.
A group of agitators on Wednesday prevented the 34 legislators, including the 21 dissident Congress members and Deputy Speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok, from entering the assembly building at Naharlagun.
This led to a scuffle between the agitators and security forces, who fired tear gas shells and blanks to disperse the agitating mob.
The entire Naharlagun area came to a standstill with commercial establishments downing their shutters fearing a law and order situation.
The district administration had already suspended SMS and data services of mobile network BSNL and other private operators in the capital complex on Wednesday.
The winter session was, however, held at Techi Takar community hall instead of the assembly building.
The house passed an impeachment motion against Speaker Nabam Rebia by voice vote.
Speaker Rebia, however, termed the action of his deputy T.N. Thongdok “unconstitutional, illegal and unprecedented”.
“It’s an interesting development in the history of Arunachal Pradesh, and for the first time in the country, we are witnessing such happenings,” Rebia told media persons.
“How can they impeach the speaker, as they have already been disqualified as members of the legislative assembly?” Rebia said, adding that 14 Congress members who voted against him have already been disqualified from the house.
“The rebel MLAs tried to forcibly enter the assembly, and apprehending a law and order problem, I as speaker did not permit functioning of the assembly and ordered for its sealing,” Rebia told newsmen.
He also slammed the governor and said that summoning of the winter session was not according to the established rules, and so it stands null and void.
The governor, he said, should not interfere in the work of the state government.
Chief Minister Tuki termed the holding of the winter session outside the Vidhan Sabha as not only patently illegal and unconstitutional but also a part of a larger conspiracy hatched by disqualified Congress and BJP legislators, the central government, deputy speaker and the governor.
Expressing concern over the development, Tuki said the high offices of the deputy speaker and the governor were being misused as tools of political conspiracy to topple the democratically elected government.
“Today, both of the said high offices have become nothing more than mere extension offices of the central government, which has uprooted the very concept of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Constitution of India,” said a statement issued by the Chief Ministers’ Office