BJP Forms Government In Arunachal Pradesh As Chief Minister Pema Khandu, 32 Others Join Party

Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with 32 other legislators joined the BJP today.

Itanagar: Amid high political drama, the BJP is set to form government in Arunachal Pradesh after 33 out of 43 Peoples' Party of Arunachal (PPA), an alliance partner of the North East Democratic Allliance (NEDA), legislators led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, joined the saffron brigade on Saturday.

The high-voltage political drama began since late Thursday night after PPA President Kahfa Bengia temporarily suspended Mr Khandu, his deputy Chowna Mein and five legislators from the primary membership of the party for alleged anti-party activities.

On Friday, the PPA, an alliance partner of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) government in the state, selected Takam Pario as the new chief minister of the state. However, the Khandu camp was supported by the BJP, the junior partner in the alliance with the PPA decided.

According to sources, Mr Khandu informed his loyalist that he has support of 12 BJP and two independent legislators and BJP is ready to throw its weight behind him.  Soon the rebel PPA MLAs rallied behind him.

Mr Khandu paraded the MLAs before Assembly Speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok who accepted their joining.

Mr Khandu now has the support of 46 MLAs in the 60 member state legislative assembly, way ahead of the 31 seats - the magic number.

"Lotus has finally bloomed in Arunachal. The people of the state will see a new dawn of development in the new year under the new government," Mr Khandu told reporters in the Assembly premises.

Elaborating on the decision to merge with the BJP, the chief minister said that circumstances compelled the MLAs to take the decision in the interest of the people and the state. Terming the decision of the PPA president to suspend the MLAs as "undemocratic," Mr Khandu said that before such a move the party leadership should have issued show cause notice to the MLAs.

The BJP has agreed to Mr Khandu's request that there would not be any change in the cabinet, sources further added.

If sources are to be beleived Mr Khandu will induct minister from BJP in his cabinet in January first week, after the speaker clears their merger through a notification.

This is the second time BJP has come to power in Arunachal. Last time was in 2003 when under almost similar circumstances Gegong Apang took away MLAs from Congress and formed a BJP government only to return to the Congress fold.

(with inputs from PTI)