Congress on Saturday changed its leadership in Arunachal Pradesh ahead of the floor test. Party leader Pema Khandu replaced Nabam Tuki, whose request for more time to prove his majority in the House was turned down by Acting Governor Tathagata Roy the previous day.
Khandu met Roy, along with state party president Padi Richo and Tuki, and staked claim to form government in the state with the support of 45 Congress legislators and two independent MLAs. The state Assembly has 58 members.
The new Arunachal Pradesh Congress leader, who comes from a strong political background, said the date of his swearing-in ceremony has not been decided yet. The 37-year-old politician is the eldest son of former chief minister Dorjee Khandu, who died in a plane crash in 2011. He has served as minister of tourism and water resources in the state government, as well.
The party held a meeting in the morning, which was also attended by the rebel legislators who had supported Kalikho Pul. Before the meeting, Congress MLA Kaming Dolo said, "You all know that CLP [Congress Legislature party] is in agreement, and Pema Khandu will be sworn in as the chief minister." Mama Natung, another party MLA, said the problem has always been a result of an internal party dispute, and hence, the party decided to change the leader.
Tuki took charge as chief minister on Wednesday evening, after the Supreme Court reinstated the Congress government in the state. On Wednesday, the top court bench had directed a status quo ante (a return to the original status) in the state as it prevailed on December 15, 2015, when it was placed under President's Rule.