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Arunachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2024 | Pema Khandu takes oath as CM for third straight term; Chowna Mein sworn-in as DyCM

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister J P Nadda, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and several other leaders attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Last Updated : 13 June 2024, 05:52 IST

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Guwahati: The Pema Khandu-led BJP government in Arunachal Pradesh took oath for the third straight time on Thursday, 11 days after the saffron party swept the Assembly elections in the frontier state by winning 46 out of 60 Assembly seats.

Governor Lt. Gen. (retd.) Kaiwalya Trivikram Parnaik administered the oath of office and secrecy to Chief Minister Pema Khandu and 11 other ministers at Itanagar. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister J P Nadda, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and several other leaders attended the swearing-in ceremony.

Senior BJP leader Chowna Mein took oath as the deputy CM for the second straight term and 10 other ministers were also administered the oath. Dasanglu Pul, the widow of former Arunachal CM Kalikho Pul, was inducted as a cabinet minister. Senior Congress leader Kalikho Pul, who was the then-CM, committed suicide in August 2016.

As many as 8 ministers of the assembly cabinet are new faces. The new BJP MLAs on Wednesday elected 44-year-old Khandu as the legislative party leader. The results were announced on June 2, but the new government were waiting for the swearing-in of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre.

Khandu's political history

Pema Khandu's political journey had begun with a personal tragedy in 2011 when his father and the then-CM Dorjee Khandu died in a helicopter crash. Khandu was inducted as a minister after senior Congress leader Nabam Tuki took charge as the new CM.

The political trajectory of Khandu, a graduate in history from the Hindu College under Delhi University, however, soared in 2016 after the Supreme Court's order ended a constitutional crisis, restoring the Nabam Tuki-led Congress government. A few days later Tuki resigned and Khandu became the CM. But two months later, Khandu defected to the People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) in September 2016 following internal bickering in the Congress, and then joined the BJP, with 43 MLAs following suit in December of that year.

This allowed BJP to form its first government in Arunachal Pradesh. This catapulted Khandu's career as he assumed the office of CM again and provided BJP its first full-fledged government in the frontier state by winning the assembly elections in 2019. Khandu's political career path is almost identical to that of Himanta Biswa Sarma and N. Biren Singh in Assam and Manipur respectively, in terms of their switch from Congress to BJP and going the extra mile to establish BJP as the main political force in their respective staes.

A Buddhist by faith, Khandu belongs to the Monpa tribe, primarily living in Tawang, a district which shares border with China.

Summary of the poll battle

Polling was conducted in 50 seats, with as many as 10 sitting BJP MLAs including CM Khandu and deputy CM Chowna Mein being elected uncontested. Congress was almost whitewashed as the party managed to win only 1 out of the 19 seats it contested in.

Two other allies of BJP - National People's Party (NPP) and Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), came second and third by winning five and three seats, respectively. The opposition People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) managed to better its 2019 tally, climbing to two seats as compared to one in the previous elections. Three Independent candidates also secured victories in the assembly elections.

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Published 13 June 2024, 05:52 IST

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