With power equations changing in Arunachal Pradesh, the name of former chief minister Kalikho Pul is on people’s minds.
The 47-year-old, who had to leave office in July after just five months following an SC verdict, was found hanging inside his official residence in Itanagar last month.
On Friday, chief minister Pema Khandu and 42 other Congress MLAs quit the party and joined Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA), a constituent of BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Now, there is a move to continue Pul’s legacy by allowing a family member to contest from the seat vacated by his death.
“A lot of work started by my late husband remains incomplete. If the ticket is given to a family member, we can continue his good work,” Pul’s third wife Dasanglu Pul said.
Pul’s death had sparked outrage among his supporters. However, there is not much progress in both magisterial and police probes ordered by Khandu. While no foul play is suspected, police are still awaiting forensic reports of Pul’s viscera samples.
“Many in the state are still demanding the case be transferred to the CBI and want the memoir found near his body to be made public,” said Nani Kozin, chief editor of Arunachal Front daily.
There is a general feeling that by giving a ticket to Pul’s family, the state government can placate his supporters. “We are serious about this. But since PPA is a part of NEDA, we need to discuss it with BJP,” Khandu said.
A former Congress rebel, Pul deserted the party’s government led by Nabam Tuki with 29 MLAs early this year to join PPA and form a BJP-backed government.
The move to impose President’s Rule and suddenly withdraw it to help formation of Pul’s government was challenged by the Congress. In July, the apex court nullified the process, leading to Pul’s removal from office. In July, Pema Khandu was elected CM in a dramatic turn of events.
This had a huge impact on Pul, who committed suicide less than a month later.