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Opposition Slams Central Rule In Arunachal As 'Murder Of Democracy'

After intense consultations over the last two days, Mukherjee signed the proclamation imposing the central rule, accepting the ground that there was a 'constitutional breakdown' in the state

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President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday endorsed the Union Cabinet's decision and brought Arunachal Pradesh under central rule after more than a month of political turmoil and in the midst of a raging battle in the Supreme Court, a decision that was attacked by Congress and other parties which called it "murder" of democracy.

After intense consultations over the last two days, Mukherjee signed the proclamation imposing the central rule, accepting the ground that there was a "constitutional breakdown" in the state.

The President, who had called Home Minister Rajnath Singh and raised some queries with him on the urgency of bringing the state under central rule, was apparently satisfied with the government's view that there was a breakdown of the constitutional machinery following the political instability.

"Taking cognisance of the constitutional breakdown that has taken place in the state of Arunachal Pradesh as reported by the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, the Union Cabinet in its meeting held on January 24, 2016 had recommended to the President of India to issue such a proclamation," said a Home Ministry statement.

It said the President has signed a Proclamation under Article 356 (1) of the Constitution, imposing President's Rule in Arunachal Pradesh and keeping the Legislative Assembly of the state in suspended animation with effect from Tuesday.

The President signed the proclamation two days after the cabinet held an unscheduled meeting on Sunday to recommend that the state be brought under central rule.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had said the cabinet was forced to take the decision because of a Constitutional breakdown as six months had lapsed between two sessions of the state Assembly.

Congress, JD-U, CPI and AAP attacked the Centre's decision as "murder" of democracy and federalism and accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of "insulting" the highest court of the country that is right now hearing the matter.

BJP, however, defended the decision saying it needs to be seen from multiple perspectives and is as per Constitutional mandate and in turn accused the Congress of politicising the issue.

"This is murder of democracy...The matter is sub-judice and government has acted in haste. It is a clear-cut insult to the highest court of the land. Democracy has been murdered," Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal compared the imposition of President's rule to an Emergency-like condition.

"Prez rule in Arunachal Advaniji was right in saying that there are Emergency-like conditions in the country," he tweeted.

"Sun rises in India's east. BJP, however, eclipses Constitution's ethos by imposing Central rule in Arunachal. Federalism trampled by Modiji," Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said on Twitter.

"Republic's founding principles of Democracy & Federalism gutted by Modiji on Republic Day! Will fight Central Rule in Arunachal tooth&nail," he said.

Political Crisis
Attacking the central rule, outgoing Arunachal chief minister Nabam Tuki said they will approach the court as matter is sub-judice. He also claimed that there is no law and order situation in the state, which is peaceful, and claimed Congress had 31 out of 44 MLAs, with BJP having only 11, besides two independents.

Arunachal Pradesh has been rocked by a political crisis since December 16 last year when 21 rebel Congress MLAs joined hands with 11 of BJP and two independents to 'impeach' Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia at a makeshift venue, in a move branded as "illegal and unconstitutional" by the Speaker.

The Supreme Court decided to hear on January 27 Congress plea challenging the Cabinet decision.

The petition seeking urgent hearing was mentioned before Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, at his residence, who directed the matter to be listed for hearing on Wednesday.

The Union Cabinet's decision was based on state Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa report.

Up in arms against Tuki, 21 rebel party MLAs, including 14 disqualified a day before, with the help of BJP and independent legislators, congregated at a community hall after the state Assembly complex was 'sealed' by the local administration, and 'impeached' Rebia in an impromptu session chaired by Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok.

Twenty-seven MLAs in 60-member Assembly, including the Chief Minister and his ministerial colleagues, boycotted the proceedings.