The year-long political instability in Arunachal Pradesh that saw change of as many as four chief ministers on Saturday here culminated in Pema Khandu and 32 other MLAs of the PPA join the BJP, thus also making this the first state in the Northeast to have a full-fledged BJP government.
“We were anyway in the process of joining the BJP in a few days. But the sudden turmoil in the PPA, with its leaders placing us under suspension two days ago prompted us to hasten the process. Altogether 33 MLAs including me and the Speaker are now BJP, and my government is now a full-fledged BJP government,” chief minister Pema Khandu said at a press conference here on Saturday afternoon.
While the PPA had 43 MLAs of its own, 33 of them have joined the BJP leaving ten behind. With the assembly already having 12 BJP MLAs and two Independents supporting it, the saffron party’s strength on Saturday increased to 47. Two of the three Congress MLAs are also soon joining the BJP, which will take its strength further up to 49 in the 60-member House.
“We were anyway in the process of joining the BJP. The PPA leadership’s action of December 29 only hastened it,” Khandu said. He also alleged that “as in the Congress”, there was no respect for MLAs in the PPA. “The way the PPA treated its MLAs was very undemocratic. They issued a suspension order even without serving a notice or calling for an explanation. That was very illegal, similar to what they do in the Congress,” he added.
Khandu also said the people of the state wanted a stable government “in line with” that of Narendra Modi’s. “The people of Arunachal Pradesh always wanted a government that was in line with prime minister Narendra Modi’s. The PPA’s action was like a blessing in disguise,” he said.