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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 April 2024

Arunachal Pradesh: Two MLAs from Congress, NPP join BJP ahead of Lok Sabha, Assembly polls

The quartet joined the BJP in the presence of chief minister Pema Khandu and state in-charge Ashok Singhal. The quartet included Congress’ Ninong Ering and Wanglin Lowangdong and the NPP’s Mutchu Mithi and Gokar Basar

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 26.02.24, 07:41 AM
Mutchu Mithi being welcomed by Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu

Mutchu Mithi being welcomed by Arunachal chief minister Pema Khandu Sourced by the Telegraph

The ruling BJP in Arunachal Pradesh received a boost ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the frontier state with two MLAs each from the Congress and the NPP joining the party in Itanagar on Sunday.

The quartet joined the BJP in the presence of chief minister Pema Khandu and state in-charge Ashok Singhal. The quartet included Congress’ Ninong Ering and Wanglin Lowangdong and the NPP’s Mutchu Mithi and Gokar Basar.

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Ering is a former Arunachal East MP and a Union minister of state in the last UPA government while Mithi is the son of former Congress chief minister Mukut Mithi.

The switch will not see a rise in the BJP tally in the 60-member House. It will remain at 49 as all four MLAs have resigned as Assembly members. “All four of us have resigned as MLAs to avoid anti-defection. We are all ex-MLAs,” one of the MLAs told The Telegraph.

Of the seven remaining non-BJP MLAs in the House, only the two Congress MLAs will continue to effectively function as the Opposition because the two remaining NPP and three Independent MLAs are already extending support to the BJP government. The NPP is an ally of the BJP.

In the 2019 state polls, the BJP retained power by winning 41 seats. The Congress had won four, NPP five (of whom one got killed before the results were out), JDU seven, PPA one and two Independents. Barring six, the other MLAs switched to the BJP over the years, including Sunday’s quartet.

The BJP came to power in the frontier state in 2016 December on the back of massive defections from the Congress led by Khandu. He and his loyalists/supporters first joined hands to form a PPA government and then defected en masse to form the BJP-led government.

While chief minister Khandu said Sunday’s development would “help fortify” the BJP base in the four constituencies, Congress leader Padi Richo said it was along expected lines as has been the case before any important election in the state.

Khandu said in a post on X that the four MLAs joining the party reflect “their faith in the principles of good governance championed” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, centred around the motto of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas”.

Richo, a former MLA and state Congress president, told this newspaper that switching to the ruling party before state elections was nothing surprising “but I can say with certainty that those who have left the Congress or other parties will all come back if the there is a change of government at the Centre.

“This has been the electoral trend in the state. If INDIA wins the Lok Sabha polls, we will see them return to the Congress,” Richo said.

He recalled how state PCC chief Nabam Tuki was the lone party MLA when in the 2019 polls with others having defected to the BJP in 2016. The Congress had won 47 seats in the 2014 state polls but after that it has been downhill for the party.

The ensuing Lok Sabha and state polls will be held simultaneously between April and May with the BJP starting as favourites.

Mithi, in a post on X, said: “Deepest gratitude to the largest party in the world, BJP for taking me and thereby my people into their fold. We are committed to work on the ideology of the party and the path shown by Hon’ble Prime Minister @narendramodiji. I can never thank enough the Hon’ble CM @PemaKhanduBJP ji for having faith in Roing and will always remain indebted....”

He has been representing the Roing constituency since 2014.

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