North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma today claimed the NDA has formed a government in Arunachal Pradesh with 43 of the 44 Congress MLAs there joining the regional outfit PPA, thereby rejecting Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's leadership.
Assam minister and BJP leader Sarma at a press meet here, said, "As the PPA is a part of NEDA, which is a constituent of the (BJP-led) NDA, an NDA government is in Arunachal Pradesh from today. Arunachal is free from Congress."
"With this development, stability should come to Arunachal Pradesh and bring the entire North East under the development umbrella of the NDA government," he said.
On the eleven BJP MLAs extending support to the Pema Khandu government, Sarma said, "PPA is a part of NEDA and obviously it is morally obligatory to extend outside support.
Khandu called me and desired PPA be called a part of NEDA." "We welcome the development in Arunachal Pradesh as it will strengthen one of our member party, PPA.
Khandu is inducted into NEDA and is now one of its Chief Ministers," he said. Asked what message was sent after today's situation in Arunachal to the Congress president and vice president, Sarma, a former Congress dissident, said, "The message is very clear ... people do not want the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. The Arunachal Pradesh development proves that."
"Today 43 MLAs including the Speaker, resigned from the Congress and merged with the People's Party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA) and all, except Nabam Tuki, presented themselves before the Governor," Sarma said.
He claimed "BJP as a party, was not consulted by the MLAs and it was not in the loop. I informed the BJP leadership and our national president this evening about the development after Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu informed me at 4 PM and I verified with their Assembly bulletin. Our national president has not reacted."
"Only at 9 AM I was told by Khandu that something will take place today, but I was not aware about its magnitude. After the Supreme Court order, Khandu was reluctant to go back to the Congress," the NEDA convenor said.
It is the second time this year that the Congress has been hit hard by rebellion in Arunachal Pradesh where Pema Khandu had two months ago become Chief Minister in a development that restored the Congress government.