'Talk to everyone, strengthen Congress in state': Sonia tells Tuki

| Updated: Jul 14, 2016 00:05 IST

New Delhi, July 13 (ANI): Hours after the Supreme Court ordered the restoration of his government in Arunachal Pradesh, a jubilant Nabam Tuki met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her official 10, Janpath residence here this evening. The Congress president during the meeting, which was also attended by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, asked Tuki to take everybody on board and strengthen the grand old party in the northeastern state. Tuki told ANI after the meeting that he has been asked to work hard towards strengthening the Congress in Arunachal Pradesh and to keep everyone united. "It was a courtesy call. I met both president and the vice president (of Congress) and they have both congratulated me for the SC judgment," he said. When asked specifically if he would meet the rebel leaders led by Khaliko Pul for talks, Tuki said, "They have asked to talk to Congress MLAs and strengthen the party." "Khaliko Pul has not come from some other party, the Congress party has majority and no individuals. Congress party will run the government. If there are grievances in the party then it would be solved within party.We are talking to everyone and they want to be in the Congress," he added. The Congress earlier in the day welcomed the Supreme Court verdict ordering the restoration of Nabam Tuki-led government in Arunachal Pradesh and saluted the apex court for protecting the values enshrined in the Constitution. In a major setback to the BJP-ruled Centre, the apex court earlier today quashed "message and direction" issued by Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa and restored status quo as on December 15 when Congress' Nabam Tuki was the chief minister. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the other hand, downplayed the Congress' accusations of toppling elected governments and said the Arunachal Pradesh verdict is not a setback for the Centre. A five-judge constitution bench pronounced the verdict on a bunch of petitions dealing with discretionary powers of the governor to summon or advance the assembly session. Stating the governor's direction on conducting assembly proceedings is unconstitutional, the apex court set aside all steps and decision taken by the legislative assembly pursuant to the governor's December 9th last year order and said they are unsustainable. The Supreme Court had earlier in February reserved its judgement in the case for today. The apex court had said the verdict will not only have its effect on Arunachal Pradesh, but affect every state. Just before the court had reserved its verdict, rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn-in as the ninth chief minister of the state. He got the support of 18 dissident Congress MLAs and two independents, with 11 BJP MLAs giving him outside support. Arunachal Pradesh had been under President's Rule since January 26. Tuki-led Congress government was dismissed following days of turmoil after 21 of its 47 lawmakers rebelled against the chief minister. The Congress, which had 47 MLAs seats in the 60-member assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of its lawmakers rebelled. Eleven BJP MLAs backed the rebels in the bid to upstage the government. Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified. (ANI)