FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
ITAGAR, March 21: The Opposition Congress in Aruchal Pradesh Assembly today staged a walkout during the Obituary Reference in respect to former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma, terming the session as ‘illegal’.
Out of the total 15 Congress MLAs, nine members led by former Home Minister Tanga Byaling attended the iugural day of the Budget Session. This is for the first time when Congress MLAs from the bam Tuki camp attended the assembly session after Kalikho Pul sworn in as the chief minister of the State on February 19 last after months of political instability in the frontier State.
When Speaker Wangki Lowang initiated the obituary reference, Byaling participating in the discussion termed the session as ‘illegal’ while pointing out that no assembly session could be summoned when the case is pending for verdict in the Supreme Court. “You may convene the session as per your whims but the matter is still sub-judiced in the apex court.... We termed it as illegal and will not attend it,” Byaling said before leaving the house with other Congress members present including Pani Taram, Techi Kaso, Mama tung, Nikh Kamin, Nyamar Karbak, Tapang Taloh, Dikto Yekar and Karya Bagang.
Reacting to the move of the opposition, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Wanglin Lowangdong said that the assembly is functioning as per the provisions of the Constitution and laid down procedures of house. “There is nothing illegal as in a democracy majority counts.... The present Peoples’ Party of Aruchal (PPA) government is being supported by majority of the members,” he added. Pul along with 29 dissident Congress MLAs on March 3 last merged with PPA in lock stock and barrel. With the defection, the Congress in the crisis-hit State was reduced to 15 MLAs with an effective strength of 58 after two Congress MLA resigned. The BJP which has 11 MLAs in the 60-member house along with two independents members are extending outside support to the Pul government.