Two days after shifting to the BJP with more than two-thirds of the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) legislators, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday formally dropped three ministers of his cabinet, besides removing two advisors and five parliamentary secretaries. The 10 functionaries had preferred to remain in the PPA after party chairman Kamen Ringu and president Kahfa Bengia had “suspended” Khandu and 10 others, most of them ministers, for alleged anti-party activities.
Those formally dropped on Monday include Public Health and Disaster Management Minister Takam Pario, Sports, Animal Husbandry and Fishery Minister Rajesh Tacho and Rural Development Minister Tanga Byaling. Pario was earlier projected by the PPA as Khandu’s replacement.
Khandu, who is likely to visit Delhi in the next few days and call on BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is also expected to reshuffle and expand his cabinet in the wake of Arunachal Pradesh getting a full-fledged BJP government.
Forty-three of the 44 Congress MLAs had on September 17 last year defected to the PPA under the leadership of Khandu. On October 14, Khandu’s PPA government took the 12-member BJP as its partner. With 33 of the PPA’s 43 legislators joining the BJP on Saturday, the saffron party increased its strength to 45.