Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Sunday appointed 26 MLAs from the Peoples Party of Arunachal parliamentary secretaries, PTI reported. Khandu administered the oath of office to the appointees in Itanagar. The developments come only two days after he led 42 other legislators to leave the Congress to join the PPA.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader and North-East Democratic Alliance convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma was also present at the induction. He said the BJP will decide on whether to provide outside support to or formally join the PPA government in the state.
Sarma, who is Assam’s health and education minister, convened a joint legislature party meeting of MLAs from the PPA, BJP and independents. He added that BJP National President Amit Shah had approved Khandu’s request to be part of NEDA, but he denied that the party had a role to play in the legislators’ decision to quit the Congress.
The PPA now has 42 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. The exit of Khandu and the other lawmakers from the Congress comes 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 order.