In a shocker for the Congress, all but one of its MLAs, including Chief Minister Pema Khandu, on Friday joined the People’s Party (PPA) of Arunachal Pradesh, making the party face the prospect of losing its government.
Sources said Mr. Khandu, who two months ago became Chief Minister in a development that restored the Congress government, along with 43 Congress MLAs, joined the PPA and virtually converted it into a PPA government.
The only MLA who has stayed with the Congress is Nabam Tuki, who was replaced as Chief Minister when the Congress, in an effort to control the rebellion in its ranks replaced him with Mr. Khandu in July.
It remains to be seen whether the PPA will align with the BJP, which has 11 MLAs in the House. There are two independents in the Assembly of 60.
The status of two Congress MLAs are yet to be decided as they put in their papers before the recent series of political developments that led to first Tuki government falling in January 2016, imposition of President’s rule and installation of the late Kalikho Pul government for a short span.
Pul, a Congress MLA, committed suicide last month. He was forced to resign in July following a Supreme Court judgment.
Rijiju denies BJP hand, blames Congress infighting
In New Delhi, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju blamed internal dissent in Congress for the political turmoil in Arunachal Pradesh, where Chief Minister Pema Khandu and 42 MLAs have joined a regional outfit PPA.
Mr. Rijiju, who is from Arunachal Pradesh, said on Friday that his party, the BJP, had no role in the latest political development in the State and that the Congress MLAs were “angry with their own leadership”.
It is the second time this year that the Congress has been hit hard by rebellion.
“Congress MLAs including the Chief Minister in Arunachal are angry with their own central leadership. They have to wait in Delhi for 4—5 days to meet their own leaders. This has eventually led to MLAs joining a regional party. There is no more Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh,” the Minister told reporters in New Delhi.
The Minister of State for Home said “if the MLAs don’t want to stay with Congress, what can the others do“.
“The Supreme Court also reinstated the Congress government but ultimately the MLAs’ decision is final. Congress tried to blame BJP unnecessarily,” he said.