Itanagar: In a big setback for Congress, all but one of its 45 MLAs, including Chief Minister Pema Khandu, on Friday resigned from the party and joined the People's Party of Arunachal Pradesh, triggering a major political crisis in this northeastern state.
PTI quoted sources as saying that Khandu, who became chief minister two months ago in a development that restored the Congress government, along with 43 Congress MLAs joined the PPA and virtually converted it into a PPA government.
All but one of 45 Cong MLAs including Chief Minister Pema Khandu join People's Party of Arunachal.
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) September 16, 2016
Earlier, news agency ANI had also confirmed the development through a tweet.
42 Cong MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh, including CM Pema Khandu,resign from the party, will join Peoples Party of Arunachal: Sources
— ANI (@ANI_news) September 16, 2016
The only MLA who has stayed with the Congress is Nabam Tuki, who was replaced as Chief Minister when the Congress, in an effort to control the rebellion in its ranks replaced him with Khandu in July.
Khandu had on July 16 become the chief minister after months of political turmoil that unseated Tuki, who himself was reinstated as chief minister by the apex court only two days before.
In a House of 60, the Congress had 44 MLAs with one seat falling vacant after former chief minister Kalikho Pul committed suicide on August 9, while the BJP has 11 members including two Independents.
The status of two Congress MLAs is yet to be decided as they put in their papers before the recent series of political developments that led to first Tuki government falling in January this year, imposition of President's Rule and installation of the late Kalikho Pul government on February 19 for a short span.
Pul was forced to resign in July 13 following a Supreme Court judgement. On March 3 last, Pul along with 29 Congress MLAs joined the PPA.
PPA CWC chairman Kameng Ringu termed the development as a "homecoming" after a short temporary self exile of the party.
It remains to be seen whether the PPA will align with BJP, which has 11 MLAs in the House. In the Assembly of 60, Congress had 47 MLAs, BJP 11 and two independent.
With PTI inputs