Congress dissident leader Kalikho Pul was on Friday night sworn in as the eighth chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh soon after President’s Rule (PR) was formally lifted from the state.
The swearing-in after 10pm, boycotted by Congress MLAs loyal to former chief minister Nabam Tuki, coincided with the 30th Statehood Day of the state bordering China.
President Pranab Mukherjee gave his approval to the Union Cabinet’s recommendation for revocation of PR in the frontier state imposed on January 26, Union home ministry officials confirmed.
This came a day after the Supreme Court vacated its order of maintaining status quo in the state, thereby paving the way for the formation of a new government.
The Union Cabinet had recommended the withdrawal of PR in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday after Pul, accompanied by 31 MLAs including 11 of BJP met governor JP Rajkhowa and staked claim to form the government.
The Congress moved the Supreme Court on Friday but it rejected the party’s plea for a floor test in the state to prove majority.
“Ours will be a Congress government in which two independents will take part. The BJP is supporting us from the outside,” Pul said before Rajkhowa administered the oath of office.
BJP’s Tamio Taga, the opposition leader, said they would try to help Pul provide a stable government. “We did not intend to dislodge a Congress government. Our fight was against rampant corruption and deterioration of law and order under Tuki,” he said.
Pradesh Congress Committee president Padi Richo said Pul’s appointment was unconstitutional. “Tuki is still the Congress Legislature Party leader and enjoys the majority among 45 party MLAs. Besides, 14 of those with Pul were disqualified.”
A Raj Bhavan spokesperson said the other ministers in Tuki’s cabinet would be sworn in by Monday.