Dorjee Khandu on Sunday began his second innings as chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh. Governor Gen (retd) JJ Singh administered the oath of office after a Congress Legislature Party met in state capital Itanagar in the morning to nominate him.
Khandu had on April 9, 2007 taken over as chief minister from Gegong Apang. The party High Command had asked the latter to quit following a sea of corruption charges including the Rs 200 crore PDS scam.
“All the newly elected 42 MLAs of our party were present at the CLP, and electing Khandu as the chief minister was a mere formality,” said Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Nabam Tuki.
After the swearing-in, Khandu said he would be leaving for New Delhi on Monday with the names of those likely to figure in his ministry. The state can have a maximum of 12 ministers in the 60-member House. They are expected to be sworn in within the next 10 days.
“Having won a two-third majority, we don’t require the support of other parties. But we cannot shut our door if they want to come along with us,” he said, indicating Arunachal Pradesh is not likely to deviate from its ‘tradition’ of Opposition-less governments.
The Nationalist Congress Party and Trinamool Congress, with five MLAs each, the regional Peoples’ Party of Arunachal with four legislators and the lone Independent have already announced their “outside support” to the Congress government. This leaves only three BJP legislators in the Opposition.
Khandu also seized the opportunity to launch a fresh attack on Beijing for its “absurd claim” on his state. “I have always maintained Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, where over 140 tribes and sub-tribe communicate amongst themselves in Hindi,” he said. “Is Hindi the official language of China?”