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2 key Bodo accord mediators move SC, seek scrapping of governor’s rule in BTC | India News

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2 key Bodo accord mediators move SC, seek scrapping of governor's rule in BTC | India News 2

GUWAHATI: Coronated Bodo prince Prithviraj Narayan Dev Mech and IIT graduate Thulunga Basumatary — two mediators of the Bodo peace accord signed in January — have moved the Supreme Court, seeking scrapping of governor’s rule in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
They said the polls, which were delayed by citing the pandemic, must be held immediately. Mech said “arbitrary imposition” of the governor’s rule may compel the NDFB ultras to return to the protest path. Many of the NDFB militants who came to the truce have joined active politics to play a deciding role in the council polls scheduled in the BTC, with former militant leaders B Saoraigwra and BR Ferenga joining the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), respectively.
“They (former militants) are adversely affected from being a part of the mainstream because of such imposition of governor’s rule in areas under the BTC. The transition from arm struggle to democracy that was set to culminate by contesting election has been discouraged,” Mech told TOI from New Delhi, as their writ petition has been registered on Tuesday for hearing in the apex court.
BTC, a governing body under the sixth schedule of the Constitution, was formed in 2003 after the memorandum of settlement signed by then leaders of Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT). The first BTC council elections were held in 2005, while the second and the third BTC were held in 2010 and 2015. On April 27, the term of the council government that was voted to power in 2015, had expired. The Assam State Election Commission vide a notification on March 11 declared the schedule for the 4th BTC election and the model code of conduct came into force in the territory with immediate effect.
Accordingly, the process of filing the nomination papers by the candidates continued till March 18. Though the polling for the respective elections was scheduled to take place on April 4, due to the rise in the outbreak of the pandemic, the election was deferred by the state election commission on March 20. Considering the arising circumstances due to deferral of the BTC election, Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi imposed governor’s rule in the BTC on April 27 and appointed an IAS officer namely Rajesh Prasad as the administrator of BTC to exercise the powers and function on behalf of the governor.
However, Mech, in a news conference in New Delhi on Tuesday said, “Being in a constitutional position, the governor is empowered to act only on the aid and advice of the council of ministers. Although in the instant case of BTC, the governor has unilaterally imposed his views and that too by violation of the constitutional provision without even consulting the council of ministers, not to say about complying to the opinion of the state cabinet.”
“Every order or notification along with appropriate reasons for imposition of governor’s rule in a sixth scheduled territory has to be laid down before the legislature of the state within 30 days of the first sitting of the state assembly, which took place immediately after the imposition of governor’s rule. However, the said impugned order issued under paragraph 16(2) of the sixth schedule has not been approved by the state legislature within 30 days of the assembly session which commenced on 31st August 2020… Therefore, under every circumstance, the order imposing governor’s rule in BTC has become null and void as well as infructuous by operation of law with effect from October 1 itself,” he said.
The duo in a statement said at a time when the assembly polls have already been notified in larger states such as Bihar by the Election Commission of India with parallel arrangement of safety measures, keeping in view of the Covid-19 protocols, there is no point of delaying the BTC polls further.
They prayed before the Supreme Court to issue directions for quashing the governor’s order dated April 27 regarding imposition of governor’s rule in BTC.

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