Arunachal Pradesh Switcheroo: Congress Loses Chief Minister Pema Khandu To BJP Ally

Arunachal Pradesh Switcheroo: Congress Loses Chief Minister Pema Khandu To BJP Ally

NEW DELHI:  Arunachal Pradesh has slipped out of the Congress party’s hands once again, just two months after the Supreme Court stepped in to restore its government. Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Friday staged a dramatic exodus of Congress lawmakers and joined a BJP ally, leaving only one member with the ruling party.After the switchover, the turbulent northeastern state will be ruled by a BJP ally.

Mr Khandu has taken 42 Congress lawmakers and joined the regional People’s Party of Arunachal, which is an ally of the BJP. The one lawmaker who has stayed with the Congress is, ironically, Nabam Tuki, who was replaced as chief minister when the Congress tried to stem rebellion in its ranks and picked Mr Khandu as a compromise.

In an assembly of 60 members, the Congress had 44 lawmakers and 11 members are from the BJP. Two independent lawmakers who supported the Congress have also joined the People’s Party.

“I have met the assembly speaker and informed him that we are merging the Congress with the People’s Party of Arunachal or PPA,” Mr Khandu said.

Mr Khandu took charge at the head of the Congress government in July after the Supreme Court turned the clock back and cancelled every decision that had precipitated its fall in January.

The Congress’s previous government led by Nabam Tuki had collapsed after Congress rebels joined hands with the BJP and voted it out in a special session held at a makeshift venue.

After a period of central rule, Congress rebels led by Kalikho Pul took power with support from the BJP. That government lasted only five months as the Supreme Court reinstated the previous government.

Mr Pul was found hanging in his home in August.

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