The Congress on Friday lost its government in Arunachal Pradesh when 43 MLAs led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu defected wholesale and merged with the People’s Party of Arunachal, just two months after it had regained power. Soon after the defection. Congress dubbed the new dispenssation as an “illegitimate child of BJP” and blamed PM Narendra Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah for the “dialbolical design to decimate democracy.” Writing about the fallout of Congress, Sheela Bhatt in The Indian Express writes how the departure of Khandu and his allies to NEDA would anchor NDA’s alliance.
According to Bhatt, the political platform of the Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) was launched to bring in more power through the coalition of regional parties which would further anchor Centre’s NDA alliance without “having to worry about the saffron tint.”
Bhatt writes, that the development in Arunachal Pradesh is being seen as a first big political success of Shah, Sarma and Ram Madhav, who is in-charge of Arunachal Pradesh.
Madhav told The Indian Express, “We welcome the legislators to NEDA. The People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) — to which the Congress MLAs have moved — is a member of NEDA which is an ally of NDA.” In fact, sources say, the party is looking at a similar forum in the south.
BJP leaders maintain that the defecation casts a shadow on Rahul Gandhi’s capability to inspire party’s regional leadership.
According to sources, Bhatt writes that Khandu was in touch with BJP’s top leadership before and after becoming the Chief Minister.
Two weeks ago, Khandu flew down to New Delhi to meet the PM and Rahul Gandhi. He is said to have got an emotional reminder from the Congress high command — which was aware of his impending defection — about his father’s political legacy. Said a senior Congress leader: “Khandu keep telling us that he needs funds from the Centre. And that he has no choice but to quit.”
However, C P Joshi, Congress leader in charge of AP, sees it differently. “Look at the larger picture,” he told The Indian Express. “The BJP is telling Supreme Court we don’t care for your judgement. We are not surprised at all. The SC judgement compelled these legislators to return to the Congress but, for all practical purposes, they have always been in PPA.”
“Khandu had to leave Congress because he thought his state will not get funds,” said Joshi. “He was promised extra funds if he became part of NEDA. It was all about funds for development.” There were few in either political camp who were surprised today since the rebellion started as early as the winter of 2015.