Pul ditches Cong, merges with PPA

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul today ditched the Congress and took 29 other MLAs to the regional People's Party of Arunachal, comparing the move to a homecoming.

By Ranju Dodum in Itanagar
  • Published 4.03.16
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Itanagar, March 3: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul today ditched the Congress and took 29 other MLAs to the regional People's Party of Arunachal, comparing the move to a homecoming.

During a news conference at the Assembly here today, Pul told reporters that legislators Alo Libang and Tatung Jamoh had joined his camp, which took his support to 30, apart from the 11 BJP MLAs and two Independents who are giving him "unconditional outside support".

Announcing the merger, Pul said that they "have come home" and that the government would work better than with any national party.

Justifying his action, Pul said he had repeatedly declared his loyalty to the Congress and had only sought a change in leadership because of "a crisis".

"We had met senior leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kamal Nath, Salman Khurshid and Rahul Gandhi, but no solution was given to us," he claimed.

Pul said the high command should have been happy that there was a Congress government in the state instead of warning MLAs. The party's Northeast in-charge V. Narayansamy had written to Congress MLAs to refrain from attending the February 25 Assembly session where Pul proved his majority with 40 votes. Narayansamy had said that Pul was not the CLP leader, a remark that the chief minister questioned today.

"How can Delhi select our CLP leader?" he asked and added that Rahul had tried to dictate terms to him when they met in New Delhi. "Rahul ji said that he and Sonia madam will decide who will be chief minister."

This is the second time that the PPA has come to power in the state since 1979 when it had briefly formed the government.

PPA chairman Kamen Ringu today said his party is "like parents without children who keep waiting for them to return". He joked that "sometimes children go astray" and that this was a " ghar-wapsi" (homecoming), in reference to the fact that they have seen many MLAs contest on PPA tickets only to defect to bigger parties. Pul's supporters, P.D. Sona and Tirong Aboh, had won the 2014 elections on PPA tickets but later defected to the Congress. They returned to the PPA today.

The Tenth Schedule states that "the merger of the original political party or a member of a House shall be deemed to have taken place if, and only if, not less than two-thirds of the members of the legislature party concerned have agreed to such merger".

The Arunachal PCC issued an order expelling MLAs Likha Saaya and Gojen Gadi in a last ditch effort to stop Pul and his supporters from achieving the required two-thirds support. However, Speaker Wangki Lowang said he had not received any information regarding anyone's expulsion from the party.

Lowang, who was elected Speaker on February 25, has been siding with Pul ever since the dissident activities began almost a year back.

He said even if the MLAs were expelled from the party, it would not affect a merger since legislators cannot remain unattached according to a Supreme Court verdict in a 1996 case.