In a big setback for the Janata Dal United in Arunachal Pradesh, six of its seven MLAs have joined the ruling BJP, a bulletin issued by the state legislative assembly said. The JD(U) is an ally of the BJP and they together rule the state of Bihar.
The JD(U) MLAs who switched sides are Talem Taboh from Rumgong Assembly Constituency, Hayeng Mangfi (Chayang Tajo), Jikke Tako (Tali), Dorjee Wangdi Kharma (Kalaktang), Dongru Siongju (Bomdila) and Kanggong Taku from Mariyang-Geku constituency, the bulletin said. Earlier in November, the JD(U) had issued show-cause notices to Siongju, Kharma and Taku for “anti-party” activities, and suspended them.
The six JD(U) MLAs had earlier elected Talem Taboh as the new Legislature Party leader allegedly without the knowledge of senior party members.
Also to join the saffron party is the lone MLA from the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), Kardo Nyigyor from Likabali constituency. The PPA MLA was also suspended by the regional outfit earlier this month.
“We have accepted their letters conveying the intention to join the party,” PTI quoted BJP’s Arunachal Pradesh president B R Waghe as saying.
The JD(U), led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, won seven of the 15 seats it contested in the 2019 assembly elections, and emerged as the second largest party after the BJP, which had bagged 41 seats.
Following the switchover, the BJP now has 48 MLAs in the 60-member House, while the JD(U) is left with only one. Congress and the National People’s Party (NPP) have four members each.
Nitish Friday sought to downplay the split. “We are focusing on our proposed meeting. They have gone their own way”, Kumar said in response to queries from journalists about the split that came ahead of the JD(U)s national executive and national council meetings scheduled here this weekend.
Meanwhile, the Opposition in Bihar, the Congress-RJD, said the Arunachal development hinted at the shape of things to come in Bihar. “The BJP, by violating the coalition dharma, has sought to send out a clear message that it cares two hoots about Nitish Kumar, who, on the other hand, is wary of even reacting,” RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary said in his statement.
(With PTI inputs)