Congress lost its Government in Arunachal Pradesh when 43 of its MLAs led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu defected wholesale on 16th September 2016 and merged with People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA) just two months after it had gained power. The PPA is an ally of BJP.
Khandu who had replaced Nabam Tuki following a dissident campaign in July this year, paraded 42 MLAs before Assembly Speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok who accepted their joining the PPA. The merger would be notified in the Assembly bulletin formalising the political development that leaves Congress with Governments only in Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram in Northeast.
Earlier, the people of Assam threw away most corrupt Congress rule under Tarun Gogoi in May 2016 with thumping majority of 85 seats to BJP alliance in the house of 120. This time, it is Arunachal Pradesh where Congress has been ditched. Next time it will be Manipur where Congress under O.Ibobi Singh will be wiped out and BJP will come in March 2017 to rule this tiny state bordering Myanmar and close to Bangladesh. Manipur famous for its rich culture and unflinching devotion to the country is suffocating under corrupt Congress rule. Next comes Nagaland where Nagas are looking towards BJP with high hope to deliver the good in forthcoming assembly election in early 2018. Slowly and gradually, Northeast will be freed from yolk of Congress misrule. Sooner the better because Congress has become the embodiment of corruption and patron and promoter of anti-national forces in most strategically placed NE Bharatvarsh. Every passing day is heavily costing the country and anti –national forces are getting stronger and stronger in Congress ruled states. Rather, Congress leaders are allegedly aligning with hostile and subversive forces to prevent BJP from coming to power so that their throne is safe. It is apprehended that Congress under Okram Ibobi Singh in Manipur will use the services of Manipur Rifles (State Police). So also the terrorist organisations to hijack the electionprocess and capture the election booths for retaining the power.
Coming back to Arunachal Pradesh, the dramatic development in this Himalyan state bordering Tibet and China brought back memories of famous ‘Aya Ram Gaya Ram’ episode involving Bhajanlal who was heading a Janata Party Government in Haryana and defected lock, stock and barrel with all the party MLAs to the Congress after Indira Gandhi regained the power in 1980.
Nabam Tuki was the only Congress MLA who did not join PPA, a constituent of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) formed by BJP on May 24, 2016 at Guwahati immediately after coming to power in Assam to accommodate genuine regional parties. Himanta Bishwa Sarma is its convenor.
Prema Khandu on July 16 had become the Chief Minister after months of political upheaval that dethroned Tuki who himself was reinstated as Chief Minister by the Supreme Court on July 13, only two days before. That was done to stem a rebellion in the Congress ranks.
In a house of 60, Congress had until this development 47 MLAs with one seat falling vacant after former Chief Minister Kalikho Pul committed suicide on August 9 at his residence by hanging himself in a ceiling fan while BJP has 11 members including two independents.
The status of two Congress MLAs is yet to be decided as they put in their papers before the recent series of political developments that led to first Tuki Government falling in January this year, imposition of President’s rule and installation of the Late Kalikho Pul Government on January 19 for a short span.
The political turmoil forced Pul to resign on July 13 following a Supreme Court Judgement. Earlier, on March 3 last, Pul had joined PPA along with 29 Congress MLAs which had ruled the state for a brief period from March 3 to July 13 this year under Late Pul. Earlier,the PPA had formed the Government in 1979 when Tomo Riba was the Chief Minister. Tomo Riba took the oath on September 18, 1979, ruled the state for 46 days before being deposed on November 3 the same year.
State BJP President Tapir Gao, meanwhile stated that the decision should have been taken earlier. “We are happy that Prime Minister Modi’s dream of ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ is becoming a reality now” said Tapir Gao.
The Arunachal’s roller coaster ride started this year with the fall of the Congress government led by Nabam Tuki after party rebels colluded with the BJP and voted out Tuki in a special session held at a make shift venue.
Kiran Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, who is from Arunachal Pradesh said BJP had no role in the latest political developments.
“Congress MLAs including the Chief Minister Nabam Tuki of Arunachal Pradesh are angry with their central leadership. They have to wait in Delhi for 4-5 days each time to meet their leaders. This has eventually led to the MLAs joining a regional party.”Rijiju told reporters.
Pema Khandu: A rising star of Northeast
Pema Khandu is the son of Late Dorji Khandu, former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh who was killed in a chopper clash in 2011. His father was a follower of Budha Dharm and a patriotic politician. So is his son – Pema Khandu. Khandu is a graduate from Delhi’s Hindu College and had an early entry into governance after his father’s demise. And in five years – 2011 to 2016, he has emerged as the Chief Ministerial prospect after Supreme Court’s judgement on July 13 that changed the course of politics with dissidents returning to Congress in the strategically placed state of Arunachal Pradesh adjacent to Tibet and China borders, unfenced and open for terrorists and anti- nationals to cross over to China and sneak back into Bharatiya territory after getting arms training to cause terrorist acts in league with terrorists organisations.
Khandu has emerged as the new star on the north-eastern horizon when he was elected leader of Congress in Arunachal Pradesh in a dramatic but calculated turn of political events.
He hails from Tawang bordering Tibet first entered the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly from Mukto (ST) constituency to fill the vacancy caused by his father’s death. He was re-elected unopposed in 2014 elections. Khandu has served as Minister for Water Resource Development and Tourism. He had joined the Congress in 2000 and became Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee in 2010.
On September 18, Pema Khandu appointed 26 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretary to assist in smooth functioning of his government. He administered the oath of office and secrecy to them including two women in a simple function in the presence of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himant Biswa Sarma. Of newly appointed Parliamentary Secretaries, six are former ministers -1. Phosum Khimhun 2. Gojen Gadi 3. Jarkar Gamlin 4. Phurpa Tsering 5. Thangwang Wangham and 6. Thirong Aboh. The portfolios of Parliamentary Secretaries would be allocated soon.
“The BJP will support the PPA government in Arunachal Pradesh from outside as of now and the decision on joining the government will be taken in near future.” Said Himant Biswa Sarma – the convenor of NEDA and an Assam Minister. “The PPA is a constituent of NEDA and so, the government in AP will be known as NEDA government.” said Sarma. NEDA was formed on May 24 this year immediately after Congress faced a debacle in electoral fight in Assam and Himanta Biswa Sarma was made its convenor. It was formed for providing a common platform for genuine regional parties of NE region.
Kalikho Pul: Hailing from Walla Mishmi village in Anjaw district of East Arunachal Pradesh, Kalikho Pul was a Mishmi by community and the follower of Sanatan Hindu Dharm of Mishmi Janjati known as Amik Matai – an Integral part of greater Vedic Hindu Dharm. Nabam Tuki government of Congress collapsed in January 2016 and the state was placed under President’s rule till February 18, 2016. Kalikho Pul took over as Congress Chief Minister on February 19 and he ruled upto July 13until Supreme Court passed the judgement. Pul had formed the government with the support of 11 BJP MLAs But Kalikho Pul had to resign due to Apex Court’s order on July 13. This time Pema Khandu formed the Congress government pushing back Kalikho Pul.
The dethroning of Pul from place of power caused an unbearable shock to him. It is said that he had borrowed crores of money from his moneyed men for topple Nabam Tuki government thinking that it would be returned silently during his term as Chief Minister. But Supreme Court spoiled the game and Pul could not complete even 5 months as Chief Minister. Because of this he was in immense anxiety and mental agony. He remained confined in his room refusing to meet even his well-wishers and sympathisers. And thus, the fateful day of August 9 came when his anxiety (chinta) turned into funeral pyre (chita). He committed suicide by hanging himself with ceiling fan.
Kalikho Pul had gone through many ups and downs in his life. He was orphaned at the age of 6. He earned his expenditure for study by way of working as carpenter, night watchman and paan –bidi sales hawker. During college life he became the general secretary of students’ union. He entered into active politics from here onwards. In the year 1995, he became the first time Congress MLA and thereafter he rose from step to step on political ladder. But he never forgot his past that made him humble, compassionate and ever ready to help poor, students, sick persons and olds. He sometimes narrated his past. During 1980s he developed acute stomach problem but there was no money for treatment. He then decided to commit suicide. He narrated in an interview-“I had decided to end my life and had gone to bridge over Lohit River. I stood there for 36 minutes but due to continuous movement of passers-by and presence of some people over bridge I could not take that extreme step”. Kalikho Pul was an over ambitious politician who wanted to become Chief Minister at the earliest by any means. That aspiration led Pul to clash with Nabam Tuki. Because of dissent, Nabam Tuki has expelled him from cabinet in 2014. When he got opportunity Pul pushed out Nabam Tuki and occupied the throne – the place of Chief Minister. But the fate had reserved something else for him that led him to end his life. However, he is remembered for what he could do in short span of less than 5 months for elimination of poverty in the rural areas of the state. After Geogang Apang till 1999, what political game of musical chairs started, that continues till now. With the ascent of Kalikho Pul on the place of Chief Minister, a high hope emerged that he would provide a lasting government in one of the most backward states of the country. But all hopes of people were belied with the death of him. He had left an 80 page note – “My thought” before committing suicide. But nothing about the content is known because it is under government custody. Kalikho Pul will remain in the memory of people for what he did for them but he will be remembered more for what he could do for the state and the country if he could live longer.
Governor J. P. Rajkhowa: The fall from Grace of committed Governor
The outgoing governor will go down in history for over stepping his power to such an extent that he even directed assembly sessions be held in a community hall and a hotel. Now that the Arunachal Pradesh governor has lost “the pleasure of the president” the Northeastern state is all set to get its 21st Governor in its 29th years of statehood.
On December 16, 2015, with Rajkhowa’s consent, 22 rebel Congress MLAs and 11 BJP members met at community hall in Naharlagun, 10kms from Itanagar since the Nabam Tuki, the Chief Minister had locked the assembly premises. For the first time in the legislative history of the country a set of elected members officially met outside the assembly premises for a session and passed a no confidence motion against speaker Nabam Rebia.
A day later they met at a hotel to pass yet another no confidence motion this time against the state government and to elect Kalikho Pul, a rebel Congress MLA then, as the new Chief Minister. Nabam Tuki blamed Rajkhowa of bypassing the constitutional provisions. Rajkhowa asserted that he took every decision based on the constitution. He pointed to Article -174 to argue that it empowers a governor to summon and also to pro-rogue the assembly including cancelling a session or re-scheduling it. On July 13, Supreme Court ruled that Rajkhowa’s decisions were “Illegal and Un-constitutional.”
Just a few days before the Supreme Court was to deliver judgement re-instating the Congress government in the state, Rajkhowa went on sick leave. Tripura governor Tathagata Roy was brought in as the acting governor. Roy conducted the oath of office of the current Chief Minister Pema Khandu on July 17.
Rajkhowa returned to Raj Bhawan on August 13. However, because of embarrassment faced by BJP government at Centre due to Apex Court’s order, he was adviced to step down voluntarily on “health ground”. He, however, refused to do so. Rajkhowa was angry that he was being given all the blame for the fiasco. He asked what wrong he had done. He said further-“I do not have a single blot in my long career. The government must have appointed me as governor on the basis of my spotless track record.”
Many in Assam agree until Arunachal episode, Rajkhowa had the reputation of a clean, most punctual and discipline senior IAS officer who retired as the Chief Secretary of Assam. During his long service, Rajkhowa has also faced humiliations and insults by the way of a number of undue postings and transfer and postings at difficult places and marginalised departments because he has always been honest and committed to his work. He has never succumbed to any pressure either from his seniors or Ministers.
News Source: Morung Express