GUWAHATI: In politically-unstable Arunachal Pradesh, 30 of the 47 Congress legislators, including Chief Minister Kalikho Pul, defected to the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) on Thursday.
The decision to defect to the PPA was taken during a meeting of the Pul-led group of Congress legislators at a conference room of the Assembly in Naharlagun. “Chief Minister Kalikho Pul and 29 other Congress legislators loyal to him have defected to the PPA. They enjoy the support of 11 BJP legislators and two Independents,” Honipa Sono Yangfo, who is close to the Chief Minister, told Express. The party president said the swearing-in of the ministers would take place in a couple of days. The BJP, which was giving outside support to the Pul-led Congress government, is likely to join the government.
“It is no longer a Congress government now. So, there is a possibility that we will join it. We could be alliance partners,” BJP state president Tamiyo Taga said. He termed the development as a “welcome step”, saying the Congress leadership was discriminating against the party MLAs close to Chief Minister Pul.
BJP-AGP Deal in Assam
The BJP on Thursday formally announced its electoral tie-up with the AGP in Assam, giving the latter 24 out of the 126 seats to contest. Once a major force in the state, the AGP is now playing junior partner to the BJP.
Announcing the poll pact, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the “massive infiltration” in the state with the “collusion and patronage” of the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government will be the main poll issue. The BJP has already entered into a tie-up with the Bodoland People’s Front, which will contest 16 seats, besides two other outfits representing local tribes.
The BJP-led alliance will soon come up with a common minimum programme. “All indigenous and our people are on one side and the UDF with the blessings of the Congress is on the other,” BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma told the media. Assam BJP chief Sarbananda Sonowal, who is the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate, and AGP chief Atul Bora besides BJP general secretary Ram Madhav were all part of the deliberations for the alliance.