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Second setback in experiments in Govt formation – Arunachal Pradesh




It would be easy to explain this off as a byproduct of the tension that the Modi Government has been having with the judiciary. However, there might be a kernel of truth in the sense that the relations between the Government and the judiciary are fraught with tension right now. The Government believes in the righteousness of what it is doing, no doubt helped by the euphoria of the massive Lok Sabha victory it got and the implied mandate by the people of India. However, it is for that very reason that the constitution of India mandates that the judiciary is a separate and equal pillar of democracy, no matter how strong the Government is. It may also be time for the government to re-look its advisers regarding the confrontation with the judiciary, the success factors of the confrontations so far is pretty low. The NJAC Bill regarding the appointments of the judges, something that the Government pushed with such a lot of effort, was reversed by the court and in a manner where there is not going to be reversal. Further issues regarding the process of appointments is being tossed back and forth, with the court very hesitant to let the Government (maybe, specifically this Government) the power that it is seeking.
Having said that, the situation is Arunachal Pradesh would have come as a shock to many. It seemed to be a settled deal, with the wheeling and dealing having happened some months earlier, and a combined Government of Congress defectors and BJP support ruling the state; and with the Assam election having gone the BJP way decisively, showing the way for the BJP to make deep inroads into the Congress ruled states of the North East. The situation in Arunachal Pradesh was not at all clear. There was a huge amount of dis-satisfaction within the Congress, and the Congress high command did not take any action to handle this dissidence. As a result, the situation grew to such a level that the dissidents were ready to walk out of the Congress and the BJP was more than willing to take these dissidents. After all, the North-East is a geographic zone that till that time had seen minimal political strength of the BJP and the chance to throw out a Congress regime would have seemed so right for the BJP – multiple political benefits of the same.

When this dissidence first came to the front, the Congress reacted the way it would normally try to do so. Quickly stamp out everything, use the office of the Speaker to threaten and disqualify those who have rebelled (and this perverting the office of the Speaker has been going on for many years now, this was not the first time it has happened – it is actually a national phenomenon). And then the Governor came into the picture. Totally acting like the agent of the ruling party at the center rather than an independent authority, the Governor took a series of steps to ensure that the dissident group was able to act independently, and their strength was sufficient to form a Government with the support of the BJP (without the support of the BJP, it was impossible for the dissidents to form the Government).
With the turmoil naturally reaching the court, the decision of the court has been a brutal response to the action of the Governor, and by implication, on the central Government. Combined with the previous Uttarakhand decision, there has been a hard stop on the efforts by the BJP to overthrow the Congress from wherever through the use of dissidents. The BJP will have to handle the negative PR from this decision, and the opposition parties will gloat over this shock to the BJP. However, the efforts will not end. Dissidence in the Congress is likely to continue, with the central leadership proving woefully unable (or not having the skill) to handle this dissidence. The BJP will continue to try and exploit these situation as and when they happen; the process might be changed a bit, but will continue.
Right now, the Congress is gleeful about the return of their Government in Arunachal Pradesh, but they still are a minority and it will be a skillful campaign of the use of party whips and disqualification to get the dissidents either in line or out of the assembly.




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