Itagar, March 3: In a sudden turn of events, Aruchal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul and supporting Congress MLAs today totally merged with the Peoples' Party of Aruchal (PPA), the lone regiol party in the frontier State.
Pul along with 29 Congress MLAs including Speaker Wangki Lowang joined the party which was notified in the Bulletin Part-II of the Legislative Assembly. The PPA had no MLAs in the current assembly.
Two Congress MLAs supporting bam Tuki - Tuting-Yingkiong MLA Alo Libang and Tatung Jamoh (Pasighat West constituency) - had also switched over to the Pul camp last night.
With this development, the Congress in the crisis-hit State has been reduced to 15 MLAs. The BJP has 11 MLAs in the 60-member House with two Independent members.
The PPA has formed the government for the second time after 1979 when Tomo Riba was the chief minister. Riba, who took oath on September 18, 1979, ruled the State for 46 days before being deposed on November 3, the same year.
Talking to reporters at the Assembly premises today, Pul informed that all the 30 MLAs during a CLP meeting last night decided to merge with the PPA for overall development of the State.
"This is a consensus decision. We were compelled to take it as the Congress high command never paid heed to our repeated pleas for change in leadership. Being in the Congress, we never acted against the party but demanded a change in leadership. However, the party's senior leaders did not address our concerns and instead sidelined us, which compelled us to take the decision," Pul said to drive home his point.
"Now, we have a PPA government with outside support from 11 BJP MLAs and two Independent members.... This is a people's government which is committed to work for the welfare of the State and its people," Pul added.
Referring to his meeting with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi recently before becoming the chief minister, Pul disclosed that when he placed his demand before him (Gandhi) for change in leadership, Gandhi categorically said that the chief minister would be decided by him and party president Sonia Gandhi.
"How can a party decide the chief minister in a democracy? This is against the Constitutiol norms," Pul added.
Reiterating his government's commitment, Chief Minister Pul assured to provide a transparent, responsive, accountable and result-oriented government to the people.
PPA chairman Kamen Ringu who was also present during the press briefing, while welcoming the new entrants to the party's fold, termed the decision as a 'turning point' in the history of the State.
"This is a right decision by the Chief Minister and his team. Our party never works under high command directives; it works for the overall interest of the State and its people," Ringu said and urged all the MLAs to contribute funds for development of the State capital.