Itanagar, Aug. 2: Gegong Apang is all set to return as chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh after predecessor Mukut Mithi resigned tonight on being voted out of power from the 60-member Assembly despite pulling all stops to delay the inevitable.
Mithi lost by a voice vote of 18-42 during the marathon and acrimonious special Assembly session convened by governor V.C. Pandey to test the strength of the Congress-led government.
Mithi immediately submitted his resignation to the governor, who has invited United Democratic Front leader Apang to form the new government tomorrow at 11 am.
Hotel Bomdila, where the breakaway Congress MLAs were confined before the trial of strength, was a scene of celebrations. Security personnel were deployed in strength in and around the Assembly complex.
Assembly proceedings, which got under way at 3 pm and continued till after 10.45 pm, saw heated exchanges between the supporters of Apang and Mithi, who questioned the propriety of Speaker Tamiyo Taga to preside over the session pending the outcome of a writ petition filed by health and family welfare minister Hari Notung.
The petition challenging the Speaker’s decision to recognise the split in the Congress legislature party, filed in the Itanagar bench of Gauhati High Court yesterday, has been posted for hearing on Monday.
After moving the court, Mithi had even urged the governor to defer the special session pending the court ruling. Taga, on his part, maintained he had done nothing illegal and had not received any intimation from the high court regarding the proceedings of the House.
Mithi also iterated that the NSCN (I-M) and the NDA were hand-in-glove with Apang in toppling his government, a charge that was vehemently contested by the United Democratic Front leader. Congress spokesperson H. Payeng told The Telegraph that his party would return to power sooner rather than later as most of those who “voted against us wanted to return but were under threat”.
“There will be no stability. We have a situation where 38 breakaway Congress MLAs are supporting a one-man party. Let us see how long they can remain united' Instead of one man supporting the 38-member group, we have 38 MLAs supporting one man. This is simply ridiculous,” he added.
Admitting the petition filed by Notung, Justice H.K. Singh told the petitioner in Guwahati today to amend the plea as it was technically faulty and posted it for further hearing on Monday. The United Democratic Front has also filed a caveat urging that they be heard before final disposal of the plea.
Notung claimed that there was no legal validity in the Speaker’s decision as both Taga and his deputy Tacho were among the 38 Congress legislators who parted ways with Mithi to form the Congress (D) under the leadership of former minister Kameng Dolo on July 27.
Mithi was left with just 17 members.
The front has staked the claim to form the government with Apang parading 41 MLAs in front of governor on July 28.
Apang first became the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh in 1980 at the age of 33 and ruled the state for 19 years.