Congress lost its ground in Arunachal Pradesh when its Chief Minister Pema Khandu and 42 other MLAs joined the People’s Party of Arunachal saying that there was no point staying with a party that had no time for its own Chief Minister.
Khandu in a conversation with The Indian Express said, “Two days after I was sworn in as Chief Minister of the Congress government, I rushed to Delhi to call on the party high command and meet Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. But while they asked me to wait for three days, the same evening I got an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi within 15 minutes for next morning. Why should we stay in such a party that does not have time for its own Chief Minister?”
Talking about the behaviour met out to them in the AICC headquarters two days after him taking the oath, Khandu said that it was “frustrating and humiliating.”
“Yes, it is true we had returned to the Congress after the Supreme Court verdict of July 13. We could have stayed out, or could have invited provisions of the anti-defection law by voting against Nabam Tuki, who was asked to prove majority within two days of the court order. But we did not do that, and sincerely returned to the party by honouring the court verdict. But when your own party refused to trust us, when the party high command had no time for us, what was the alternative?”
Khandu, who now heads a PPA government supported by BJP, also admitted that though Congress won a huge majority in 204 assembly elections, there was hardly any development in the state.
“The majority of the Congress MLAs were also getting frustrated because no scheme was functioning, forget about new programmes. There was no existence of the state government. That was what drove us to revolt,” he said.
When asked as to why did they a defunct party like PPA instead of BJP, Khandu said, “The ground report was that the common man wanted a regional party. Moreover, the PPA was already part of the NEDA, which puts us as equal partners with the BJP.”