Eight more Congress MLAs loyal to former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki joined the camp of his successor Kalikho Pul on Wednesday.
The switchover coincided with governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa summoning the assembly on Thursday and Saturday, Friday being a holiday due to a local festival. The trial of strength is expected on Thursday, after the governor’s address.
Last week, former home minister Likha Saaya joined Pul, who staked claim to form the government with 18 MLAs, four days before being sworn in as the state’s eighth chief minister last Friday.
The strength of Pul’s camp is now 28 while Tuki’s group has been reduced to 17.
Pul also has the support of 11 BJP legislators and two independents in the 60-member House with an effective strength of 58. He thus has 40 MLAs backing him.
More Tuki loyalists are expected to join Pul soon.
“Six legislators attended the Congress Legislature Party meeting convened by the chief minister today (Wednesday),” Honifa Yangfo, a Pul aide, said from state capital Itanagar.
Two more joined CM Kalikho Pul’s camp later in the day.
Hours after the meeting, a communiqué from Raj Bhavan said Rajkhowa has, in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by Clause (I) of Article 174 of the Constitution, summoned the two-day assembly.
Pul said he was confident of surviving the floor test.
“Wangki Lowang (MLA from Namsang seat) has filed nomination for post of Speaker,” he said, adding the council of ministers would be sworn in soon.
Earlier in the day, the AICC warned party MLAs not to attend the Pul-convened CLP meeting, terming it illegal. AICC Northeast in-charge V Narayanasamy warned the MLAs of action if they attended the meeting.