Exactly two weeks after joining the BJP almost en masse, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Saturday expanded his ministry by inducting three ministers, with governor V Shanmuganathan administering their oath of office and secrecy in Itanagar.
Of the three newly-inducted minister, Tezu MLA Mahesh Chai was elected on a BJP ticket in the 2014 state assembly election, while Bamang Felix (Nyapin MLA) and Alo Libang (MLA from Tuting-Yingkiong) were originally elected as Congress candidates. Among them Felix was a government spokesman since Khandu had assumed office as chief minister on July 17.
Three ministerial berths had fallen vacant after Khandu had dropped Rajesh Tacho, Tanga Byaling and Takam Pario on January 3, three days after 33 legislators of the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) led by Pema Khandu had joined the BJP. The three who were dropped had stayed back in the PPA with the regional party earlier “suspending” Khandu and projecting Takam Pario as its preference for the chief minister’s post instead of Khandu.
Union Road, Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and state assembly Speaker TN Thongdok were among those who attended the swearing-in ceremony at the Itanagar Raj Bhavan.