Senior Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday that the Pema Khandu government in Arunachal Pradesh would be known as NEDA government. “While the BJP will extend outside support to the PPA government, from today onwards, the Pema Khandu government will be one of the NEDA governments,” Sarma, who arrived here on a day-long trip as the convener of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), said.
Revealing that he and 42 other Congress MLAs had started planning to quit the party soon after rejoining it in the wake of the July 13 Supreme Court order, Khandu said they always wanted to be “in line” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as that is what “the people wanted”.
“The way the honourable Prime Minister is leading the nation, and the love he has for the Northeast, and particularly for Arunachal Pradesh, have led us to make up our minds that we should be in line with him,” Khandu said at a press conference.
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Sarma said, as of now, the Khandu government was a coalition government between the PPA and BJP, but did not rule out the possibility of a merger in the long run. “As a party, we (the BJP) are yet to decide whether we should join the government or provide outside support. We will make an assessment of the situation at our national executive in Calicut, after which there may be some decision on whether we will continue outside support or join the government. As of now, my brief is to convey (to Khandu) that we are giving outside support,” Sarma said.
Khandu said there was also a strong demand among the people for a regional party government in line with the BJP-ruled Centre. “Though most of us were elected as MLAs on Congress tickets (in 2014), we had noticed that there was an increasing demand among the people that we should be in line with Prime Minister Modi. Given this situation, we had started a movement within the Congress, and it was for that reason that 30 of us had defected to the PPA (in March). It was only because of the Supreme Court judgment that we had landed back in the Congress (in July),” Khandu said.
People’s demand was why they again decided to go back to the PPA now, the CM said. “Earlier we were only 30, this time 43, and all agreed that we should get closer to Modiji.”