The JD(U) suffered a jolt in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday after six of its seven legislators switched over to the ruling BJP. A seventh MLA — the lone People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) representative in the Assembly – has also officially joined the saffron party.
The JD(U) — BJP’s alliance partner in Bihar — has reacted sharply, calling the move “unfriendly”. The party is likely to discuss the matter at its upcoming national executive on December 27 in Patna.
The development comes a day after Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad — a senior BJP leader — had hinted at a cabinet expansion.
The Arunachal MLAs who changed allegiance are Talem Taboh from Rumgong Assembly seat, Hayeng Mangfi (Chayang Tajo), Jikke Tako (Tali), Dorjee Wangdi Kharma (Kalaktang), Dongru Siongju (Bomdila) and Kanggong Taku (Mariyang-Geku).
Senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is a key BJP leader in the Northeast, told reporters in Guwahati on Friday evening that the MLAs who defected had been part of the saffron party from before. “Due to some arrangements they had contested from the JD(U)… This is a kind of homecoming for them,” Sarma said.
The BJP already enjoyed a large majority in the House, having swept the 2019 Assembly polls by winning 41 seats in the 60-member House.
Soon after the MLAs switched allegiance, JD(U) national spokesperson KC Tyagi told The Indian Express, “We were a friendly Opposition in Arunachal Pradesh. This act on part of BJP is unfortunate, unfriendly and unwarranted. This has caused us embarrassment and also given a chance to our Bihar Opposition RJD to attack us.”
Meanwhile, the RJD has claimed that the BJP may attempt the same in Bihar. Party spokesperson Mrityunjay Tewari said, “It is a clear warning for the JD(U) that has 43 MLAs (in Bihar). BJP might try to do an Arunachal Pradesh with Nitish Kumar in Bihar. This is how BJP has started unfolding its plan against JD(U).”