Pema Khandu takes oath as Arunachal Pradesh CM for second time
Six days after securing the first electoral victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Arunachal Pradesh in the assembly polls, Pema Khandu took oath as the northeastern state’s chief minister on Wednesday.
Khandu, who has been in the CM’s chair since July 2016 and witnessed several twists and turns in the state’s politics, was administered the oath of office by Governor BD Misra.
The swearing-in ceremony of the 39-year-old and 11 other ministers took place at Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre in state capital Itanagar—the first time outside the Raj Bhawan.
Starting with Assam (2016), Manipur (2017) and Tripura (2018), the BJP now has four elected governments in the northeast. The party is a part of coalition governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya and NDA-ally Mizo National Front is at the helm in Mizoram.
Wednesday’s ceremony was attended by Pema Khandu’s counterpart in Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, Manipur’s chief minister N Biren Singh, Tripura’s Biplab Deb, Nagaland’s Neiphiu Rio and Meghalaya’s Conrad Sangma.
Union minister Kiren Rijiju, the BJP’s national vice-president Ram Madhav, senior Assam minister and convenor of North East Democratic Alliance Himanta Biswa Sarma were also present.
The BJP won 41 of the 60 seats in the state assembly in the assembly polls which were held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections across the country. The Janata Dal (United) came second with seven seats, National Peoples Party (NPP) won five, People’s Party of Arunachal won one and two seats were bagged by Independents.
In 2014, the BJP had won just seven seats while Congress got 42. The Congress government led by Nabam Tuki was dismissed in January 2016 after differences among the party’s legislators over leadership.
The next government in the state was formed by Kalikho Pul, who led a group of rebel Congress MLAs. But after the government was dismissed by the Supreme Court, Pema Khandu took oath as CM of a Congress government in July 2016.
Pema Khandu and almost all Congress MLAs, except Tuki, joined the People’s Party of Arunachal a few months later and switched sides to the BJP in December 2016 after PPA expelled them.
It was the second (un-elected) BJP government in the state after Gegong Apang engineered a switch by most Congress MLAs to the saffron party in 2003. That government lasted eight months.
Son of former chief minister Dorjee Khandu, Pema Khandu’s rise in politics began after his father’s death in a helicopter crash in 2011.