Pul sworn in as Arunachal Chief Minister

Pul sworn in as Arunachal Chief Minister

Dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul was tonight sworn in as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh after more than two months of political crisis, shortly after the Supreme Court paved the way for government-formation and President's rule was lifted from the state.

Pul, who had led a revolt against the leadership of former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, was administered the oath office and secrecy by Governor K P Rajkhowa at a ceremony at the Raj Bhawan here.

Pul, 48, heads a government that has the support of 19 dissident Congress MLAs, 11 of BJP from outside and two independents, who are likely to be part of the government, in the 60-member state Assembly.

Tuki commands the support of 26 Congress legislators.

After the oath-taking, Pul told the media that he would expand his ministry after consultations with the MLAs backing him but did not specify any date for the exercise.

Speculations are rife about the possibility of dissolution of the Assembly by the new government to pave the way for fresh elections in the frontier state.

Earlier in the day, with the Supreme Court paving the way for government- formation, President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh was liftedPresident Pranab Mukherjee gave his approval to the Union Cabinet's recommendation for revocation of President's rule, a Home Ministry official said in New Delhi.

The President's nod came after a last-ditch effort of Nabam Tuki seeking an interim direction that his party be allowed to go for a floor test in the Assembly to prove majority was rejected by the Supreme Court today.  

The Union Cabinet had recommended the withdrawal of President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday after Pul, accompanied by 31 MLAs, including Congress rebels, BJP and independents had met Rajkhowa and staked claim to form government.

A revolt by Congress dissidents led by Pul triggered political crisis in the state that finally led to imposition of President's rule on January 26.

Congress, which had 47 MLAs in the 60-member assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of its lawmakers revolted against Tuki's leadership. Two of them later resigned from the House.

Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified by the Speaker.

The Supreme Court is considering pleas against imposition of President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh and also hearing petitions seeking examination of constitutional schemes on the scope of discretionary powers of the Governor.

However, yesterday, the apex court virtually paved the way for government formation in Arunachal Pradesh by vacating its order on maintenance of status quo, after being satisfied with the Gauhati High Court order staying the disqualification of the 14 rebel Congress MLAs.

A former Finance and Health minister of the state, Pul represents Hayuliang assembly constituency and was elected as the leader of the House and the chief minister by the rebel Congress MLAs, BJP MLAs and two independents in the Assembly session which had been held at an auditorium as a make-shift venue on December 17. The session was boycotted by supporters of Tuki after whose ouster President's Rule had been imposed.  

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