The return of the Congress rebels to the party fold in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday and the election of a new Congress chief minister in the state has come as the second successive big blow to the BJP especially at a time when the latter had raised the slogan of “Congress-mukt Northeast” only four days ago.
“Today’s (Saturday) decision of the united CLP is egg on the face of the BJP that was trying to destabilize our government by applying all available options. The BJP tried its best till the last moment, but our legislators realized the truth and came back to the party fold,” said outgoing Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki.
Tuki alleged that the BJP was trying all means to dismiss the Congress and install a BJP government in the state. “It had already made a back-door entry by luring a section of our legislators and forming a government through illegal and unconstitutional means. They (BJP) also used the governor’s office in their desperation to install their government. They even raised a slogan for making the Northeast Congress-free. While the Supreme Court gave its historic judgment on Wednesday, our patriotic legislators took the big decision to come out of the BJP’s trap and return home,” said Tuki.
The BJP had on Wednesday held the first conclave of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in Guwahati, and taking as many as 10 regional parties on board, had announced its mission for a “Congress-mukt Northeast.”
The 30 rebel Congress MLAs who had joined the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) on March 3, had also attended the NEDA conclave under Kalikho Pul’s leadership. But even as the NEDA conclave had begun, the Supreme Court judgment came as a bolt from the blue in it.
On Saturday, the rebels returned to the Congress fold ending their honeymoon with the BJP, which had extended them outside support since December 16, 2015 when a special session of the state assembly was held at the behest of Governor JP Rajkhowa. The entire episode the 30 rebel Congress MLAs joining the PPA was legally wiped out by the apex court judgment.
Interestingly, even as Nabam Tuki, who resumed office as chief minister on Wednesday following the apex court order, started to claim he was in touch with the rebel camp led by Pul, NEDA convenor and senior Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a tweet on Thursday said, “All 41 MLAs of Arunachal P staying together to defeat Nabam Tuki on the floor test.”
The NEDA conclave held in Guwahati on Wednesday was presided over by none other than BJP national president Amit Shah, with then Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul attending it as head of the PPA team. The apex court order restoring Nabam Tuki as chief minister however had dismissed Pul even as he was sharing dias with Amit Shah, other senior BJP leaders and three more non-Congress chief ministers of the region.