9 Tuki loyalists cross over as 40 MLAs pledge support to new CM
Itagar, Feb 25: Kalikho Pul, sworn in as Aruchal Pradesh Chief Minister on February 19 last, today proved his majority in the floor of the assembly with support of 40 members, including 28 from the Congress, 11 BJP MLAs and two Independents.
On the first day of the two-day session, Pul moved the motion of confidence in the House immediately after election of Wangki Lowang as the new Speaker to prove his strength to run the government in the crisis-ridden State.
However, 17 Congress MLAs and Tuki loyalists abstained from voting as they were absent in the session.
Pul who was sworn in as the eighth Chief Minister of the State on February 19, the day when President Rule was lifted from the State, gained the support of nine more Congress MLAs from the Tuki camp who shifted their allegiance to him yesterday.
Chief whip of Congress Legislature Party (Tuki group) Rajesh Tacho yesterday issued a three-line whip to the party MLAs to abstain from voting in support of Pul while, another chief whip of CLP (Pul group) Pema Khandu also issued a whip directing the party MLAs to vote in favour of the incumbent chief minister.
Participating in the motion, Pul, while criticising former Chief Minister bam Tuki, alleged that there was no consensus government during Tuki’s regime as he was running an autocratic government which affected the State’s fincial position.
“The State recorded an overdraft of Rs 1,253.14 crore with RBI during the last three years for which the State government was uble to provide salaries to the employees in time. The former chief minister also never paid attention to the suggestions and issues raised by the ministers and MLAs and indulged in his own style of functioning, which resulted in dissidence,” Pul pointed out.
Extending his gratitude to the members for supporting him, the Chief Minister said that after 13 months of struggle, he could stand as the leader of the House.
Giving a genesis of the events, Pul disclosed that majority of the Congress MLAs were not satisfied with the style of functioning of Tuki who never bothered to redress the grievances of the party MLAs and instead tried to suppress their voice by dropping several ministers, parliamentary secretaries and hatched a conspiracy to unseat two MLAs from the assembly in connivance with the Speaker.
“When people elected the MLAs and an orphan like me to the assembly, we should do something for them in return.... The need of the hour is to develop willpower by the politicians for overall development of the State,” he said.
The Chief Minster informed the House that immediately after dissension erupted within the Congress, he started receiving threats from various quarters and his family members received death threats from underground elements.
“My struggle is not to become the Chief Minister but to streamline the State’s dismal fincial health as the State has recorded continuous overdraft with the RBI in the last three years with current cash balance of (-) Rs 581 crore,” he said adding, “We should prepare modalities to generate State’s own resources without depending much on the Centre.”
Assuring to bring out a White Paper on State’s fincial health soon, the Chief Minister disclosed that whatever corrective measures adopted by the Governor during Central Rule in the State would be continued by the State government.
Pul also lamented that several attempts to meet party president Sonia Gandhi at New Delhi went in vain.
“We have requested the party high command for change in leadership but did nothing against the Congress party....Our government will be a Congress government with outside support from the BJP and two Independents,” he added.
Ridiculing the claim of Tuki, he said to form a government, simple majority is required.
“Whoever has the majority can form the government. In a house of 58 members, 30 MLAs are required to form the government and we have support of 41. Moreover, to become the CLP leader, support of only 23 members are required and I have 28 with me,” Pul said emphatically to dismiss Tuki’s claim.
He said, he has full faith in the Judiciary, and whatever done to form the government was in accordance with Constitutiol provisions.
“Government formation and floor test have no link with the ongoing court cases,” he added.
Pul also dismissed allegation by the previous government blaming the Governor for the crisis, saying that under Article 174 (2) of the Constitution, the Governor has special power to summon, call-off and dissolve an assembly.
The House later passed the motion by voice votes and sigture acceptance by 40 MLAs.
Earlier, taking part in the motion, Opposition Leader (BJP) Tamiyo Taga criticised bam Tuki saying that the chief minister was acting as per his whims and fancies without thinking for the people’s welfare.
“We support Kalikho Pul government unconditiolly from outside for a better government for which people are waiting. There was no development and gross fincial mis-magement took place during Tuki’s tenure,” he alleged.