In a big blow for BJP but a big win for democratic federalism, yesterday the Supreme Court directed a status quo ante in Arunachal Pradesh as it prevailed on December 15, 2015.
"I welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court for reinstalling the Nabam Tuki-led Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh", Gogoi said. The PPA added that though the SC has asked for the status quo ante to be restored as on December 15, 2016, Tuki with only 15 Congress MLAs in his favour, can not become the Chief Minister of the state in a House having 58 members. In the Arunachal Pradesh assembly of 60 seats, the People's Party has 30 lawmakers, the BJP has 11 supported by 2 independents and the Congress 15.
But, with numbers not on his side, he is weighing his options, and claims to be in touch with rebel Congress legislators, including the SC-ousted Chief Minister, Kalikho Pul, to reconsider their decision.
The Supreme Court's verdict came as a shot in the arm for the Congress, paving the way for the return of its dismissed government. Government runs only with the numbers. Rijiju said his party respected the apex court's decision but added that the final verdict on who would rule the state could only be decided by a floor test.
However, later in the day, when the BJP finally took a stance, it described the SC order on Arunachal Pradesh "very odd order" adding that the leader with the majority support was being asked to sit in the opposition and also wondered if the verdict "weakens" the democratic spirit. Later on Union cabinet recommended president role which was lifted in February 18, 2016 and paved way for formation of new government with Pul as Chief Minister. "There is no threat to our government", he told reporters here.
He said the court had ordered status quo ante from December 15 and a lot of developments have taken place after that, including withdrawal of President's Rule and swearing-in of a new government under Kalikho Pul.
On filing a review petition against the Supreme Court judgement, he said legal experts would be consulted first.
Faced with an imminent floor test, Tuki is believed to have delayed an assembly session while Rebia failed to convene the House within six months - as required.
"We demand removal of JP Rajkhowa in Arunachal Pradesh", senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said at a press conference.