Congress checkmates BJP in Arunachal; Wins back rebels

RSTV Bureau
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki being greeted by a congress leader at  Arunachal Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday.

FILE: Former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki being greeted by a congress leader at Arunachal Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Hours before the floor test in Arunachal Pradesh, Congress seems to have trickled a political trick to save its reinstated government as much as checkmating its rival — the BJP. Nabam Tuki has resigned as the Chief Minister and one of its rebel Pema Khandu is elected as the leader in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly. It is also learnt that Khandu has brought sizeable number of Congress rebels back in the party fold.

Nabam Tuki, who was reinstated as the Chief Minister of the state after Supreme Court verdict earlier this week was asked by the Governor to prove his numbers today. The floor test is expected to take place at 1:00 PM.

But the Congress leadership, realising that Tuki is short of number with just 15 MLAs in the 60-member house, opened its channels with the rebels to bring them back in the fold, with office of party vice president Rahul Gandhi too holding active parleys.

By the afternoon, Tuki tendered the letter of his resignation to Governor Tathagata Roy, holding additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh, while the newly elected CLP leader Khandu will be submitting his letter of support from the Congress MLAs.

Pema Khandu, hitherto a part of the group formed after 30 MLAs had rebelled against Tuki last year December, was persuaded by the Congress top leadership to come back. He has also got with him sizeable chunk of rebels that may just ensure the victory of reinstated Congress government, which will now be headed by Khandu.

FILE: Itanagar: File photo of the dissident MLAs of Congress party and BJP MLAs at a "special" Assembly session at a community hall, Naharlagun, in Itanagar on  Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Photo - PTI

FILE: Itanagar: File photo of the dissident MLAs of Congress party and BJP MLAs at a “special” Assembly session at a community hall, Naharlagun, in Itanagar on Wednesday, December 16, 2015.
Photo – PTI

According to Congress party sources, rebel leader Khaliko Pul, who took over as Chief Minister with BJP’s backing following Tuki’s ouster, also attended the CLP meeting. In total 44 MLAs are present as per the Congress sources.

Congress party had 47 MLAs in the 60-member house before the rebellion in the ranks of ruling party last year; following with Tuki government was dismissed by the Centre on January 27. Soon after rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn in as Chief Minister with the support of 18 dissident Congress MLAs and two independents and 11 BJP MLAs.

But, this week, in what could be termed as an embarrassment for the Centre and the Arunachal Pradesh Governor, the Supreme Court restored the congress lead government in the state setting aside Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision to of advancing the assembly proceedings scheduled from January 14, 2016, to December 16-18, 2015.

In its order the court said that Arunachal Pradesh governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision advancing session of the state assembly by a month is volatile of the Constitution and is liable to be quashed.