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‘Black day’ protest greets Arunachal Pradesh CM Khandu on completing 1 year in power

Khandu assumed power in the frontier state on July 17 last year first as Congress chief minister and then wore a regional colour before switching over to the BJP eventually.

india Updated: Jul 17, 2017 13:46 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Pema Khandu,Kalikho Pul,Arunachal Pradesh CM
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu completes one year in power amid a ‘black day’ protest demanding a probe into the death of his predecessor Kalikho Pul. (PTI Phto )

The unnatural death of predecessor Kalikho Pul returned to haunt Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Monday as his government that changed three party colours completed a year in office amid a ‘black day’ protest.

The milestone is personal for Khandu, as his government wearing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s saffron has more than five months to go to complete a year.

The chief minister had first headed a Congress government that switched over to the regional People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) and then to BJP on December 31 last year.

The Mere Vichaar Andolan Committee (MVAC) on Monday observed ‘black day’ to mark Khandu’s one year in power and staged a demonstration in state capital Itanagar.

The committee, named after Pul’s 60-page suicide note titled ‘Mere Vichaar’ that blamed Supreme Court judges and a few Arunachal Pradesh politicians for driving him to death, has been demanding a probe into the events that made Pul “sacrifice” his life.

Pul was found hanging in the chief minister’s bungalow on August 9 last year.

“Even after the 2019 assembly election, July 17 will always be a Black Day and August 9 a Suicide Day for us unless Khandu and his deputy Chowna Mein quit,” MVAC convenor Kaling Tasingh said.

Khandu’s reign since July 17 last year, though, has been fairly uneventful compared to the preceding 12 months that saw power changing hands thrice with a dose of President’s Rule (PR) in between.

The frontier state had been experiencing political turbulence since October 2015, when former chief minister Nabam Tuki removed Pul as finance minister. Pul mobilised the MLAs and revolted against Tuki, and the ensuing political drama led to the imposition of PR in the state on January 26 last year.

PR was lifted on February 19 to pave the way for Pul to head a rebel Congress government that wore the regional PPA colour a month later.

But the Supreme Court reinstated Tuki’s Congress government on July 13. Tuki took over charge only to resign and make way for Khandu days later.

On Sunday, Khandu launched a campaign to root out corruption in the state by asking bureaucrats and police officers to “compulsorily sensitise people” against graft.

But MVAC and another tribal organisation called Boh Ramo Bokar Elite Society said such a drive would be meaningless if Passang Dorjee Sona, an MLA in Khandu’s core group, does not clear his stand on an allegation that he had received Rs 4 crore from Pul.

Sona, who is a parliamentary secretary for tourism, refuted the allegation. “I have always maintained that I am open to investigation,” he said.

Green Arunachal Foundation, another NGO, also said the Khandu government completed one year with a track record of failures, particularly in checking crimes, providing potable water and taking precautionary measures against natural disasters.

First Published: Jul 17, 2017 11:37 IST