GUWAHATI/NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday accused the BJP of engineering Friday’s en bloc defections in Arunachal Pradesh, a charge which the latter was quick to dismiss.
The Congress party in New Delhi dubbed the new government in Arunachal as an “illegitimate child of BJP” and a diabolical design to decimate democracy. “The prodigal sons of Congress who have jumped ship have made a massive ideological and political blunder and compromise,” Congress’ chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, hitting out hard at 43 of its 44 MLAs who defected.
“The BJP was not in the loop,” BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the convenor of NEDA, told media representatives in Guwahati.
Sarma said it was only after the MLAs were paraded before the Speaker that he issued a gazette pertaining to the Congress MLAs’ merger with the People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA).
CM Pema Khandu will now enjoy the support of 56 MLAs, including 43 from PPA, 11 from BJP and two Independents. Sarma said the BJP would extend outside support to the PPA government, as it did during Kalikho Pul’s five-month stint. “PPA is a part of NEDA. As such, it is obligatory for BJP to extend outside support to PPA,” he said. Asked about BJP’s participation in the government, Sarma said: “As of now, there is no such instruction (from the BJP leadership). Similarly, PPA also doesn’t have any intention to merge with the BJP.”
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju blamed internal dissent in Congress for the political turmoil in the State. Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said his party BJP had no role in the latest political development in the State and the Congress MLAs were “angry with their own leadership” leading to their joining of People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh.