Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Friday said that the decision made by the 43 Congress MLAs to join the People's Party of Arunachal had been "conscious and unanimous". In a major setback for the Congress, Khandu had led 42 lawmakers to the Bharatiya Janata Party's ally in Arunachal, "keeping in view how to bring development to the state", PTI reported.
"With PPA being an alliance partner of [the BJP's] North East Democratic Alliance, we will develop a mechanism on how to get more development funds from the Centre," Khandu said, adding that it was undeniable that having a "political difference" with the central government made it difficult to get things done for a "resource-stressed state like Arunachal".
This comes around two months after the Supreme Court ordered the restoration of the Congress government in the state. Khandu had proved his party’s majority in the Arunachal Assembly days after the ruling.
Former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki was the only Congress MLA who opted to remain with the party. This is the second time in seven months that the PPA will form a government in the north-eastern state. Party chief Kameng Ringu, who called the move a "homecoming for PPA leaders after a temporary self-exile", denied that the BJP had any role to play in the exodus of legislators.
The PPA now has 43 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly, while the BJP has 11. Two MLAs are independent and one seat has been vacant since former chief minister Kalikho Pul committed suicide on August 9.