Guwahati: In a dramatic turn of events in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress party on Saturday succeeded in roping in its rebels back to the party fold by forcing chief minister Nabam Tuki to step down and appointing Pema Khandu as new leader of Congress Legislature Party.
In what came as big shocker to the BJP strategists, the Congress rebels including former chief minister Kalikho Pul on Saturday morning attended the Congress Legislature Party meeting which elected Khandu as their new leader.
Arunachal chief minister Nabam Tuki who was reinstated by Supreme Court on Wednesday, rushed to Raj Bhawan and submitted his resignation immediately after the CLP meeting.
The Arunachal assembly has an effective strength of 58 in which the BJP has 11 and Independents 2. With Speaker Nabam Rebia and the return of dissidents, the Congress strength has gone up to 45.
If insiders are to be believed union minister of state home Kiren Rijiju who was dealing with Congress rebels and contemplating to merge them with the BJP, was caught oblivious to the developments, which was planned by Congress soon after the Supreme Court pronounced the verdict.
Pointing out that problem for the Tuki government had started with resignation of Pema Khandu, sources in the Congress party said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was in touch with Pema Khandu and Chowna Mein, the deputy chief minister in the Pul government.
Meanwhile, Khandu on Saturday staked claim to form the government.
Earlier, PCC president, Padi Richo, Nabam Tuki, Pema Khandu and Jai Kumar met the Governor to submit letters of support from 44 Congress MLAs.
Khandu, soon after staking claim, said that the Governor has not given any commitment yet and said that he had to process their claim.
Insiders in Congress party said that Congress MP Ninong Ering, who was in touch with Congress rebels, played the key role in pulling the entire Congress MLAs back to the party fold on Saturday.
Meanwhile Arunachal BJP president Tapir Gao on Saturday clarified that BJP was not part of the Kalikho Pul government. “We extended outside support to the Congress rebels who now have decided to go back to Congress party,” said Gao who admitted that BJP strategist failed to foresee the conspiracy....