Keeping BJP’s option open to be a part of the PPA government in Arunachal Pradesh, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said the party will decide its future course of action during the national executive meeting. “It will be decided at the BJP National Executive meeting at Calicut this week on whether BJP will continue to extend its outside support or be a part of the PPA government led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu,” Sarma told reporters in Itanagar.
Sarma, who is Assam’s Health and Education Minister, arrived in Itanagar in the morning and convened a joint legislature party meeting with 43 Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) MLAs, 11 BJP MLAs and two Independents. He said discussions on proper coordination between BJP and PPA were made where it was decided that BJP would extend outside support to the government along with two Independent members.
“Since PPA is an alliance partner of NEDA, a conglomeration of BJP and other regional parties of North East, the government in Arunachal Pradesh will be known as NEDA government,” Sarma said. He further said that he had discussed with party President Amit Shah on September 16 about willingness of Khandu to be a part of NEDA and accordingly the party chief had given go ahead signal.
“Chief Minister Khandu will be one of the patrons of the political platform,” Sarma added. NEDA was formed on May 24 in Guwahati with an intention to make North East Congress-free. Sarma further said that the chief ministers under NEDA would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the first week of October to apprise him of the problems faced by all the states of the region.
“We will work together to bring development in the region especially, Arunachal,” he said. Asked about NEDA’s stand over bringing a permanent solution to the decades-old boundary dispute between Assam and Arunachal, Sarma categorically said that NEDA would create a platform where inter-state problems would be resolved amicably.
“There are many common problems of the region which need to be raised with the Centre. NEDA will do its best to resolve all the problems of the region including boundary disputes,” he said adding, all the chief ministers under NEDA would collectively take up the issues of the region with the Prime Minister for the development of the region including financial deficit faced by various states.
Sarma further added that the NEDA has initiated a meeting between all its chief ministers in Northeast and ambassadors of nine countries to facilitate investment in various sectors. On Congress’ allegations that the Arunachal episode was a handiwork of the BJP to make the country free from Congress, Sarma asserted that the decision of 43 Congress MLAs in the state to join the PPA was “an indigenous” development and BJP had no role in it.
“We have nothing to do with the internal matter of the Congress. The party will fall in the state automatically when development process will start under the NDA government at the Centre,” he said. Earlier only 30 Congress MLAs in the state joined the PPA but now 43 have joined which is a clear indication that they are more happy with the plan and policies of the NDA, he claimed.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, PPA Working Committee Chairman Kamen Ringu and President Kahfa Bengia were also present at the press conference.