In Guwahati, NEDA convenor and senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that the BJP had no hand in the developments leading to the entire Congress LegisP in Arunachal Pradesh merging with the PPA. “The BJP had not engineered this. I came to know about it only at 9 AM today when Pema Khandu called me up and said there would be some major developments later in the day. It was finally only around 4 PM that I was informed about the merger,” Sarma told at a press conference in Guwahati on Friday evening.
Sarma also claimed that Arunachal Pradesh had “finally” become “Congress-mukt” with the CLP merging with the PPA. “Arunachal Pradesh has finally become Congress-mutk today. Moreover, the move has also strengthened the North East Democratic Alliance, and that in turn the NDA. After all the PPA has been a constituent of NEDA from the first day itself,” Sarma said.
The NEDA convener however ruled out any immediate plans for the merger of PPA with the BJP. “There is no such possibility because the PPA is anyway our partner in the NEDA. I have not discussed such things (merger) with Pema Khandu today,” he said.
Sarma also claimed that Pema Khandu, and for that matter most of the Arunachal Pradesh MLAs who had joined the PPA in February this year, did not want to go back to the Congress. “It was only for legal compulsions arising out of the Supreme Court order of July 13 that they went back to the Congress. Khandu had particularly told me that day (July 13) that he did not want to return to the Congress but for the legal compulsions,” Sarma said.
“The Arunachal Pradesh development is also a clear-cut message for Rahul Gandhi that his leadership was not acceptable to anybody in his own party. No independent-minded person can accept Rahul Gandhi as his or her leader,” he said.