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Arunachal Chief Minister Pul along with 29 Congress MLAs joins PPA

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul and 29 Congress MLAs, including Speaker Wangki Lowang,on Thursday merged with the Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA), the lone regional party of the state as “Congress high command sidelined them”. Two Congress MLAs, Alo Libang (Tuting-Yingkiong constituency) and Tatung Jamoh (Pasighat West constituency), who were earlier supporting Nabam Tuki, joined the Pul camp last night. With this defection, the Congress was reduced to 15 MLAs in the state, which has an effective strength of 58 in the Assembly, after the resignation of two Congress MLAs.
The BJP has 11 MLAs in the 60-member House with two Independents. Talking to reporters at the Assembly premises, Pul said all 30 MLAs, during a Congress Legislative Party 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 Congress, we never acted against the party, but demanded for change in the leadership. Party’s senior leaders could not solve our issue and instead, sidelined us, compelling us to take the decision,” he said. “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 claimed.
Referring to his meeting with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi recently before becoming the Chief Minister, Pul said when he placed his demand for change in leadership, Rahul said the Chief Ministerial candidate would be decided by him and party president Sonia Gandhi. “How can a party decide the Chief Minister in a democracy? This is against Constitutional norms,” Pul said. Reiterating his government’s commitment, the Chief Minister assured to provide a transparent, responsive, accountable and result-oriented government to the people. “The priority of my government will be on six critical essential service sectors including roads, health, education, power, water supply and law and order. Funds will be released for need-based schemes and top priority will be given on committed nature of expenditure,” he said. The government was contemplating on going for revenue generation by mobilising state’s own resources for which due priority would be given on mines and minerals, power, and tax and excise departments, Pul said.
Responding to queries regarding delay in expansion of his council of ministers even after 14 days of his swearing in, he said, “You don’t have to wait longer… the new ministers will be inducted soon.” 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. PPA CWC chairman Kamen Ringu who was also present during the press meet, welcomed the MLAs the party fold and termed their decision as a “turning point” for 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, but works for the overall interest of the state and its people,” Ringu said urging all MLAs to contribute funds for development of the state capital. (PTI)

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