Arunchal Pradesh, the quiet hill state has never been known as a political combat zone, but the royal rumble of power between Congress and the BJP that started last year has entered into what looks like a defining phase.
Barely 2 months back, The Supreme Court had to step in to reinstate the congress government in the state. The reigning Congress government led by Nabam Tuki had collapsed after Congress rebels joined hands with the BJP. The Congress government was duly voted it out in a special session.
Congress rebels led by Kalikho Pul formed the next government in Arunachal with support from the BJP. Pul government lasted only 5 months.
Pul was found hanging in his home in August.
To pacify the rebels who had switched loyalties to the BJP, Pema Khandu was offered as a reconciliation. Khandu replaced Tuki as chief minister when the Congress tried to end revolt in its lines.
Now Congress has all but Tuki left on its side. Arunchal proved to be slippery as an eel for the Congress party.
Arunachal State Assembly had 44 INC legislators and 11 BJP ones. CM Pema Khandu along with the remaining 42 legislators joined the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), a BJP Ally.
Of course, there are high chances that the mother of all coups was orchestrated by BJP which can boast of another state in its kitty (or its ally’s).
Till now BJP hadn’t handled the Arunachal Pradesh matter with grace or even subtlety. In fact with the Arunachal debacle, it gave INC a solid reason to flash the victim card for. Even if Arunachal was indeed a case of constitutional crisis, the scandalous handling of the whole episode by the BJP gave Nabam Tuki an aura of martyrdom. BJP’s core strength is winning elections, it tried the Congressi tricks for a change and failed miserably. But Pema Khandu leading the rebel brigade move, however opportunistic it may sound, was masterfully done.
The exodus happened but rebels didn’t move to the Bhartiya Janata Party but an ally of it. The exodus happened but clandestinely. It was a clean coup, to say the least but it will be too early to assume that Arunachal finally has a stable government. We wish the old CM Pema Khandu with a new party affiliation all the best.