Congress’s master stroke in Arunachal: Change leader, win back rebels
It was a master stroke in balancing a divided Congress party and getting enough votes to rule Arunachal Pradesh. Congress MLAs elected former rebel leader Pema Khandu as the new legislative party leader after reinstated Chief Minister Nabam Tuki resigned from the post.
With this change, the Congress has won back a majority of rebel MLAs, who had walked away putting the Nabam Tuki government in crisis in January. The election came just before the floor test in the Assembly.
Reports indicate that BJP-backed Arunachal People Party leader Kalikho Pul, who has been claiming the support of 43 MLAs, was fast losing the support of rebel Congress legislators.
The Congress leadership decided to change the leader when rebels sent feelers to the party leadership that they were willing to support the parent organisation if it were willing to change the CLP leader.
Nabam Tuki met the Governor and tendered his resignation. Prema Khandu is expected to meet the Governor and stake his claim to form the government.
The Governor then will have to decide on the swearing in of Prema Khandu as the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh after verifying his letter of support.
The Governor may then ask the new Chief Minister to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly.
Two days ago, the Supreme Court had reinstated the Nabam Tuki government terming the Governors act of dismissing him ‘unconstitutional’.
Earlier, the BJP was confident to defeat the Nabam Tuki government since it expected the support of Congress rebel MLAs.
Now after the change in leadership, reports said almost all rebel MLAs have returned to the Congress party.
This smart move by the Congress leadership has put the BJP in a spot.