The BJP on Saturday said it was now at the helm in Arunachal Pradesh after 33 legislators, including Chief Minister Pema Khandu, of the Peoples Party of Arunachal (PPA), defected to it, making it the 10th state in the country ruled by the saffron party.
“Arunachal Pradesh becomes 10th BJP ruled state and 14th with the BJP (as an ruling ally). Congratulations to CM Pema Khandu and welcome into the BJP Parivar,” party General Secretary Ram Madhav tweeted.
The announcement of Khandu and 32 legislators from the PPA joining the BJP was earlier announced by state BJP President Tapir Gao
“Thirty-three MLAs of the PPA joined us today. It will be a strong BJP Government now,” Gao told IANS.
He said the BJP government has the majority support in the 60-member Arunachal assembly and Khandu would continue as the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister paraded his MLAs in front of Speaker Tenzing Norbu. “Lotus has finally bloomed in Arunachal Pradesh. The people of the state see a new dawn of development in the New Year,” Khandu told reporters after meeting the Speaker.
The political development in Arunachal Pradesh took a turn on Thursday when Khandu was suspended from the PPA along with six other MLAs.
The PPA is a constituent of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led North East Democratic Alliance. However, it was not immediately clear whether the PPA remains a constituent of the NEDA.
Asked about the remaining PPA MLAs, including the richest legislator Takam Pario, Gao said: “It is for them to decide what they have to do.
“There will be no separate claim to form the government as the BJP has formed the government automatically.”
With 12 of its own MLAs, the BJP now has 45 members in the assembly. Two of the independent lawmakers have also supported it.
The PPA is now left with only 10 MLAs.
However, its President Kafha Bengia said the merger was “illegitimate” and that he would challenge it in a court.
“We will move a court against those MLAs who have joined the BJP,” Bengia said.
Khandu, son of former Congress Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, has become second BJP Chief Minister in the northeast with Sarbanand Sonowal heading the party’s government in Assam.
Khandu, who took over as the Chief Minister from Nabam Tuki in July, had quit the Congress along with 42 MLAs to join the PPA in September.