Congress leader Pema Khandu will take oath as the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister on Sunday after the party managed to convince rebel legislators to come back into the fold and avoid a floor test.
Khandu, 37, was elected as the leader of the Congress legislature party after chief minister Nabam Tuki resigned.
Khandu, a graduate from Delhi’s Hindu College, was one of the 21 rebel legislators who walked out of the party last year, plunging the Tuki administration in crisis.
Raj Bhavan officials said Khandu does not want to take oath on a Saturday.
“There is no more dissidence, only differences of opinion. There is no relevance of floor test now. This is a big victory for the Congress,” said Tuki after emerging from the Raj Bhavan.
But governor Tathagata Roy refused to comment on whether the floor test will go ahead or a possible swearing-in ceremony for Khandu. The Congress said it has the support of 47 MLAs in an assembly with an effective strength of 58.
“The credit goes to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for reuniting the Congress in Arunachal,” Khandu said.
The development comes as a setback for the BJP that had backed rebel leader Kalikho Pul, who walked out of the party in November with 20 other MLAs, and formed the government with support from the saffron party.
But sources said even Pul attended the Congress party meeting on Saturday, along with several leaders. His original demand in November was Tuki’s ouster.
“All tricks of the BJP failed and it is a lesson for not interfering in the affairs of a state,” Tuki said.
The Supreme Court had restored the Congress government in the state on Wednesday, scrapping all decisions by the governor that had led to the fall of the Tuki administration.
The decision was seen as a huge blow to the BJP-ruled Centre that had imposed President’s Rule in the state and had supported Pul, who took over as CM from Tuki.
On Friday, governor Tathagata Roy turned down Tuki’s request for more time before the floor test after the Congress leader complained that the vote had been scheduled in haste.
The new leader of the Congress, 37-year-old Khandu, is the son of former CM Dorji Khandu, who died in a helicopter crash in 2011 after five years in power.
“Will see that development gets priority with the involvement of all sections of society,” he told reporters. He was the legislator from Mukto in Tawang district and was the tourism minister in Tuki’s administration. He quit last year and sided with Pul. He has a BA (honours) degree from Hindu College in Delhi.