The Congress has gone into a fire-fighting mode to save its government in Arunachal Pradesh following a renewed bid by dissident leader and former finance minister Kalikho Pul to topple chief minister Nabam Tuki.
Party sources confirmed that Pul has roped in 22 Congress legislators and needs six more out of the total 42 MLAs to be identified as a breakaway group in the state assembly. He has already claimed that the BJP with 11 MLAs and some independents will support the dissident group. That will take him well past the halfway mark of 30 in the 60-member house.
Pul has now stepped up efforts to woo at least six other Congress MLAs to take the figure to two-thirds of the total party strength and thus avoid disqualification on the ground of defection as they would then be recognised as a separate group in the assembly.
A party functionary, who has been entrusted with the task of keeping the flock together, told HT that he has recorded conversation between Pul and some Congress legislators who have so far declined to join him.
“The government is on the verge of collapse and our first target is to prevent the other party MLAs from joining the dissident group. We have told them that all their grievances will be addressed,” he said.
The Congress has just few days to save its government after governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa advanced the assembly session from January 14 to December 16 to ensure that an impeachment motion moved by 11 BJP members, two independents and some Congress legislators for removal of Speaker Nabam Rebia is expeditiously taken up by the house. These members are also expected to move a no-confidence motion against Tuki.