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Top Cong leaders move President

By Kalyan Barooah

NEW DELHI, Jan 25 - President Pranab Mukherjee is holding broad consultations, including with the NDA Government over its recommendation for imposition of President�s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, as he met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking the Government�s response to at least four of his main concerns.

As the political controversy rages on, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh met President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this afternoon. Congress president Sonia Gandhi also met the President in the evening in the light of the new development.

Yesterday, the Cabinet had recommended President�s rule in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Government�s recommendation has come at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing petitions linked to the political crisis in the State.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh was asked to explain the need for Central rule in Arunachal Pradesh. The President also wanted to know why the Centre decided to impose President�s Rule when a case was being heard in the Supreme Court, besides its legal implication. Mukherjee also wanted to know how the NDA Government proposed to get the decision endorsed by the Rajya Sabha, where the Government lacks majority, said sources.

Sources said Singh told the President that the law and order situation in the State has �severely deteriorated� and the Congress Government had behaved unconstitutionally.

Governor JP Rajkhowa in his report to the Centre recommending President�s Rule said that the Governor�s House at Itanagar was gheraoed by people creating a law and order situation. He also blamed the State Government for breakdown in the internal security situation and also alleged that the Nabam Tuki Government was trying to create a divide by questioning Rajkhowa�s ethnicity.

The crisis began on 16 December last, when 21 rebel Congress MLAs joined hands with 11 BJP and two Independent members to impeach Speaker Nabam Rebia at a makeshift venue. In the 60-member Assembly, 26 MLAs, including Chief Minister Nabam Tuki boycotted the session, calling it illegal and unconstitutional.

A day later, the rebels and Opposition legislators gathered at a community hall and voted out the Chief Minister. Both sides then approached the Gauhati High Court and later the Supreme Court. The matter is now before the Constitution Bench.

Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal has alleged that the Prime Minister, BJP chief Amit Shah and the RSS are involved in the �conspiracy to destabilise Arunachal Pradesh.� A Congress delegation including Arunachal Chief Minister Nabam Tuki also met the President this evening.

SC to hear issue on Jan 27: The Supreme Court today decided to hear on January 27 a plea challenging the Union Cabinet�s recommendation to impose President�s Rule in crisis-hit Arunachal Pradesh moved by the Congress, which alleged that �illegal� attempts have been made by the Centre and the Governor to topple the Nabam Tuki government there. � PTI

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