The Arunachal Pradesh unit of National People’s Party (NPP) on Wednesday said the demand for Mon Autonomous Council “should not be a cause of political unrest in the state as it has no constitutional standing”.
“Arunachal is a 5th Schedule state so the MAC demand has no political standing,” the NPP said.
“Any political upheaval for ‘such a trivial reason’ would never be in the larger interest of the state,” the party said while appreciating chief minister Pema Khandu for running the state government smoothly and overcoming financial difficulties despite the Covid19 pandemic.
The party said “the MAC encompassing Tawang and West Kameng districts and Patkai Autonomous Council (PAC) comprising Tirap, Changlang, and Longding districts were floated in December 2003 to topple the then government headed by chief minister Gegong Apang.”
“Apang had facilitated the approval of the two councils in the state Assembly through a resolution on February 16, 2004,” a statement from the party said on Wednesday.
“The present chief minister cannot be blamed alone since Apang’s successors Mukut Mithi, Dorjee Khandu, Jarbom Gamlin and Nabam Tuki had taken a similar stand on the issue,” it added.
The NPP said Pema Khandu was invited as the chief guest to attend the Monpa Mimang Tsogpa conference in Tawang on July 29 and was given a memorandum for reminding the Central government of a grant to the MAC.
“India being a democratic nation, anyone can demand anything for which no leader can be blamed. It is the same way the All Nyishi Youth Association has blamed the CM Khandu and also demanded his resignation,” it said.
Giving the examples of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura, the NPP said there have been instances of granting autonomous councils in the North East, however, those states are under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India.
“Creation of such councils is not possible in Arunachal as it falls under the 5th Schedule,” the party said.
The NPP further said many political parties have been demanding the inclusion of Arunachal Pradesh in the 6th Schedule for making the Arunachalees owner of all natural resources instead of being protectors only.
“All should be aware of the Constitutional provisions and instead of blaming the chief minister should unite to achieve the goal as BJP rules both at the Centre and in the state, it said.
The NPP also faulted the Statehood Act, 1987 and said it should be amended and brought under Article 371 (A) as in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland instead of Article 371 (H) that gives extraordinary power to the Governor.
“Once this is done, Arunachal Pradesh will be one of the richest states in India,” it said while adding that all Arunachalees should stand united and ask the present government to move to the Centre for facilitating a constitutional amendment to enrich the state.
The NPP has four MLAs in the state’s 60-member house and has been supporting chief minister Khandu’s BJP government which as 41 legislators.
The Janata Dal (United) has seven, Congress four and People’s Party of Arunachal has one MLA while three lawmakers are independent.