New Delhi : A month after the BJP-sponsored drama of mass defection of all Congress MLAs led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu to the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), the Congress on Tuesday moved the Election Commission to declare the so-called merger as “invalid, null and void.”
Former chief minister Nabam Tuki, the lone Congress MLA left after the drama on September 16, along with AICC secretaries K C Mittal and K Jayakumar, petitioned the Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners to call the bluff of the merger.
A memorandum submitted by them asserted that the claim of the PPA, a constituent of the BJP-engineered North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), was utterly false that a joint meeting of leaders, office-bearers and 43 Congress MLAs on September 16 decided to merge the party into the PPA.
“No such meeting was held and the decision as claimed is baseless and false….The alleged merger decision is not sustainable in the eyes of law and even contrary to Para-16 of Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968,” the memorandum said.
The BJP denied its hand in the merger, claiming that it was frustration of the Congress leaders in the state with their national leadership that they decided to flock to the regional party. The development had come two months after the Supreme Court restored the Congress government of Tuki that was destabilised by the Centre with the help of Governor Jyoprasad Rajkhova who was sacked just four days before the September 16 coup.
The PPA was formed in March this year by now deceased former chief minister Kalikho Pul who committed suicide as a shock of the Apex Court dismissing his government and declaring Tuki as the CM.
After the 2014 Assembly elections, Congress had 47 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly, 21 of whom left the party with Pul to form a PPA government with outside support of 11 BJP MLAs. All 22, including Pul, had returned en-block to the Congress after the Supreme Court restored its government on July 13 and as a compromise Tuki agreed to let Khandu be the CM.