In a dramatic development, BJP formed a new government in Arunachal Pradesh today with 33 MLAs of PPA led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu joining the party, two days after he was suspended by his own party that triggered another round of political maneuvering.
Khandu, a former Congress leader, paraded the 33 of the 43 MLAs of Peoples' Party of Arunachal (PPA) before Assembly Speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok who recognised them as BJP members in a House of 60. BJP has 11 MLAs.
The high-voltage political drama began since late Thursday night after PPA President Kahfa Bengia temporarily suspended Khandu, his deputy Chowna Mein and five legislators from the primary membership of the regional party for alleged anti-party activities.
The PPA, an alliance partner of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) government in the state, yesterday selected Takam Pario as the new chief minister.
However, on a day of fast paced developments the political equation changed when majority of the PPA MLAs who initially extended support to Pario, later shifted their allegiance to Khandu. Khandu broke away from the Congress along with 42 lawmakers in September this year.
The PPA today also suspended four other party MLAs including Honchun Ngandam, Bamang Felix, Punji Mara and Pani Taram.
"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," Khandu told reporters in the Assembly premises.
BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav hailed the installation of a party government in Arunachal Pradesh.
"Arunachal Pradesh becomes 10th BJP ruled state and 14th with BJP alliances. Congratulations to CM Pema Khandu and welcome into BJP Parivar," Madhav tweeted.
The PPA accused the BJP of hijacking its MLAs to instal its government in the state.
Addressing media persons, PPA President Kahfa Bengia criticised North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma for remaining a silent spectator during the political crisis. PPA is a partner of NEDA.
"The NEDA convenor instead of coming to the state to resolve the ongoing crisis went to Kenya. He should have deputed somebody to sort out the differences between the MLAs of the party," Bengia said.
"The PPA is not comfortable with NEDA in the state and we are going to discuss the issue with other constituent members of the alliance soon," PPA central working committee (CWC) Chairman Kamen Ringu said while supporting Bengia.
Elaborating on the decision to merge with the BJP, Khandu said that circumstances compelled the MLAs to take the decision in the interest of the people and the state.
"After several years of Congress misrule we observed that there was no visible development in the state. We joined the PPA with the intention to take the state to progress and prosperity, but there too, we find similar condition where the party president treated the MLAs undemocratically.
"So with focus on development, our MLAs decided to join the BJP for overall progress of the state," the chief minister said.