Arunachal Pradesh: Political history
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
PPA’s previous stints in government
The Arunachal political crisis [of Sept 2016] has also highlighted the curious case of PPA, a party much favoured by defectors in the state. With [Sept 2016] developments, PPA formed the government for the third time after 1979 when Tomo Riba was CM. Riba, who took oath on September 18, 1979, ruled the state for 46 days before being deposed on November 3 the same year. It also ruled the state for a brief period from March 3 to July 13  under Pul.
2011-2016: Chief Ministers
The State saw three CMs:
Nabam Tuki: 1 November 2011 to 26 January 2016
Kalikho Pul: 19 February 2016 to 13 July 2016
Nabam Tuki: 13 July 2016 to 17 July 2016
Pema Khandu: From 17 July 2016 onwards
Nov 2011- Dec 2016: A Timeline
Arunachal Pradesh has undergone major political unrest since April 2015 when Congress expelled Kalikho Pul from the post of action Chief Minister.
Here is a timeline of the key events:
Nov 1, 2011: Congress leader Nabam Tuki takes charge as CM of Arunachal Pradesh . His brother Nabam Rebia takes charge as the Speaker.
Dec 2014: Tuki drops state Health and Family welfare minister Kalikho Pul during the Cabinet reshuffle.
Apr, 2015: Pul alleges financial mismanagement within the government. Congress expels him alleging anti-party activity.
June 1: Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa takes charge as Governor.
Oct 21: Fifth session of Assembly concludes.
Nov 3: Governor orders summoning of sixth session of Assembly, to meet on January 14, 2016.
In the same month, Congress MLAs demand resolution for removing Deputy Speaker, while BJP MLAs demand resolution to remove Speaker.
Dec 9: Governor orders advancing the Assembly session from Jan 14, 2016, to Dec 16, 2015.
Dec 15: Speaker Nabam Rebia issues notice disqualifying 14 of the 21 rebel Congress MLAs.
Dec 15: Deputy Speaker quashes disqualification of 14 of the 21 MLAs.
Dec 16: Deputy Speaker says the Speaker’s decision that sixth session would not commence on Dec 16 was illegal.
Dec 16: Tuki government locks the Assembly. Corresponding assembly meeting held in another building, attended by 33 MLAs. The resolution for removal of Speaker Rebia is passed and a new speaker is appointed.
Dec 17: Rebels hold assembly in hotel after community hall is razed, vote against Tuki; elect Pul as CM. Rebia moves Gauhati HC to keep assembly and related developments in abeyance. Read editorial
2015, Dec: Rape allegation against Khandu
New Delhi [India], Feb.15 (ANI): A woman from Arunachal Pradesh's West Siang District approached the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday with a complaint that she had been gang-raped by three persons, allegedly including the name of incumbent state Chief Minister Pema Khandu [in 2008[.
Filing a complaint through her lawyer under Section 10 of National Commission for Women Act, the lady has accused Khandu, Phurpa Lama Thumpeen Tashi, a teacher of the Tawang Higher Secondary School, and Dorjee Wangchu of gang raping her in the month of July 2008.
"I have suffered immense mental agony for endless time before gathering courage to lodge complaint against them at the Itanagar women police station, said the victim.
She said in her complaint that she was a resident of Dorzeling Village in Arunachal West Siang District and had come to Tawang District in search of a job, and if not a job, to explore the possibility of starting a business in mobiles and laptops.
She has claimed that she came into contact first with Phurpa Lama, who in turn asked her to meet a "few powerful persons" at the Tawang Circuit House. In her complaint before the NCW, she has claimed that she was given a cold drink with some intoxicant that made her unconscious.
"I was given some intoxicant mixed with cold drink which rendered me senseless. I was repeatedly gang-raped by above named persons. When I came back to senses, I saw the man who was raping me at that time. He introduced himself as Colonel Pema Khandu. When I tried to resist, he slapped me hard....."
She said that it took her seven years to gather courage to file a complaint against Khandu and others.
She claimed that she had filed two FIRs, one in December 2015 and the other in January 2016, in the Itanagar Women Police Station, but came away disappointed, as the officer in charge refused to register the FIRs. She said that even the Superintendent of Police failed to act on her complaint. She also said that the court of the chief judicial magistrate has dismissed her complaint as being without merit.
Rashmi Bhati, the victim's lawyer, told ANI, "My client has levelled allegations of rape against Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu. It is a 2008 incident. She had approached police and court who did not register her complaint. We have given her complaint to the women's commission. The victim was and is very scared. This courageous woman has filed her complaint before National Commission for Women in Delhi." (ANI)
The complaint [with NCW] was filed on February 15,  the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the state.
The woman had first lodged a complaint against him in December 2015, a few months before Khandu became the chief minister.
Back then, the Itanagar Police made a preliminary enquiry on receipt of the complaint.
The complainant then approached the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) with her allegations.
The court, however, found no merit in the complaint and dismissed it by mentioning that "the complaint filed under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code is devoid of any merit and complainant is not entitled for the orders as prayed for".
2016: PTI's Timeline
Jan 5, 2016: HC stays disqualification of 14 Cong MLAs.
Jan 6: SC agrees to hear plea of Arunachal Speaker, removed by rebel MLAs.
Jan 13: SC orders not to hold any proceedings in the Assembly till Jan 18.
Jan 14: SC refers Arunachal issue to Constitution Bench.
Jan 15: SC starts examining constitutional scope of discretionary powers of the Governor.
Jan 18: Congress tells SC that the Governor could not have acted on a resolution by opposition BJP MLAs and two Independents to advance the Assembly session.
Jan 25: Congress moves SC on recommendation for President’s rule in Arunachal.
Jan 26: Union Cabinet recommends President’s rule in the State.
Jan 27: President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh comes under SC scrutiny. SC seeks the Governor’s report on recommending central rule in the state, saying “it is too serious a matter“.
Jan 28: Nabam Tuki files fresh plea in SC against President's rule in Arunachal.
Jan 29: Centre files affidavit in SC justifying imposition of Prez rule in Arunachal Pradesh, says complete breakdown in State, Governor in danger.
Feb 1: SC recalls notice to Governor, says they are immune.
Feb 2: SC resumes hearing on pleas for examining Governor’s powers.
Feb 4: SC takes strong note of a submission that all decisions of Governor are not open to judicial review.
Feb 5: SC questions Governor’s order to advance Arunachal Assembly session to December last year from this January.
Feb 9: SC rejects plea of 2 rebel Congress MLAs against a Gauhati High Court decision upholding the action of the then Speaker accepting their resignations.
Feb 10: Governor Rajkhowa defends his actions in SC saying that the CM and the Speaker were “hand-in-glove” and trying to remain in power despite losing majority.
Feb 11: Governor can’t take away Speaker’s powers, says SC.
Feb 16: SC refuses to pass an interim order on Congress plea to restrain Governor from swearing-in new CM.
Feb 18: SC satisfied with Gauhati HC’s order staying disqualification of 14 MLAs, paves way for new govt in State.
Feb 19: SC rejects Congress’ plea for floor test in Arunachal assembly.
Feb 19: President’s rule lifted in the State.
Feb 20: Pul sworn in as CM of Arunachal Pradesh.
(Aaya Cong, Gaya Cong: Party loses govt in Arunachal again Sep 17 2016 : The Times of India adds: In February, BJP had supported Pul's government, which was formed through a similar defection of Congress MLAs to PPA. But Pul had to step down after the SC ordered reinstatement of the Tuki-led Congress government that he had dislodged.Following this, on July 16, Khandu became chief minister of the frontier state.)
Feb 22: SC reserves verdict on batch of petitions dealing with discretionary powers of Governor to summon or advance the assembly sessions, says it has the powers to undo the damage.
Jul 13: SC terms Governor’s decision unconstitutional, orders restoration of Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh.
Jul 14: Acting Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Tathagata Roy asks Chief Minister Nabam Tuki to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly by July 16, 2016.
Jul 15: Nabam Tuki meets Arunachal Pradesh Governor Tathagata Roy to seek postponement of the floor test by at least 10 days. But Governor Roy rejects Nabam Tuki’s plea for deferring floor test slated for July 16.
Jul 16: Chief Minister Nabam Tuki resigns, a few hours ahead of the much-anticipated floor test. Pema Khandu, son of former Chief Minister Dorgee Khandu, has been elected as the chief of the Congress Legislature Party.
Aug 9: Former Arunachal CM Kalikho Pul found hanging
Sept 16: Pema Khandu quits Congress along with 43 party MLAs, joins the People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA). Nabam Tuki, Mr. Khandu's predecessor, is the only MLA who chose to stay with the Congress.
2016, September: Cong CM, MLAs defect to BJP ally
CM & 42 MLAs Shift Together To BJP Ally
Two months after its government in Arunachal Pradesh was “restored“ following a Supreme Court order, Congress was left squirming on Friday with chief minister Pema Khandu defecting with all but one of the 42 party MLAs, plus the speaker, to People's Party of Arunachal, a regional outfit allied with the BJP-led NDA.
The development is the latest in the dramatic twists and turns in the turbulent politics of the sensitive border state. The Supreme Court had castigated former governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa for dismissing the state government and imposing central rule in January .
The controversial dismissal of Nabam Tuki's government had led to Congress rebels forming another government with BJP's support.
Arunachal is one of the oldest bastions of Congress in the northeast, but with the defection of Khandu along with speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongduk, the party is now left with just one MLA -Tuki.
After Friday's upheaval, the 60-member assembly has 43 PPA members, 11 BJP legislators, one Congress MLA and two Independents. The seat of ex-chief minister Kalikho Pul is vacant after he died last month. The status of two Congress MLAs, who resigned before the Tuki government fell in January , is unclear.
The latest development follows the Centre's decision [a few days before] to sack Rajkhowa after the apex court order struck down his decision as “unconstitutional“. It appears that the Centre did not want the controversial Rajkhowa to preside over the swearing-in of the Khandu government, this time in pro-NDA colours. BJP state chief Tapir Gao held the Congress leadership responsible for the revolt.“Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should have taken care of this in time,“ he said. BJP state chief Tapir Gao blamed Congress for fail ing to address the issues faced by its state party functionaries. On the possibility of PPA MLAs joining BJP , he said, “Our door is always open.“
In a game of musical chairs that has marked political developments in Arunachal Pradesh, Pul had overthrown Tuki in a similar fashion by joining the PPA with 29 Congress MLAs in February. Pul died under mysterious circumstances on August 9 shortly after being unseated by a SC ruling.
On Friday , Khandu paraded 42 MLAs before assembly speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok, who had no qualms in accepting the change in their allegiance to PPA, assembly sources said.This was subsequently notified in the assembly bulletin.
Khandu claimed there was no political motive in the switch. “Our decision to join PPA was conscious and unanimous. In a meeting (where MLAs decided to leave Congress) held in the morning, most MLAs were of the view that a change was imperative to get more funds from the Centre,“ he said.
Asked why the MLAs did not join BJP, he replied, “The people of the state have very high aspirations and they are very regional in character.“
The decision to don PPA colours seems politically convenient with a development argument thrown in. “For a state poor in resources, it is necessary to be with a bigger party to get more funds from the Centre,“ deputy CM Chowna Mein said. Tuki, who is out of town, could not be contacted for comment.
Gao welcomed Khandu's decision and said, “This decision should have been taken earlier. We are happy that PM Narendra Modi's dream of Congress-mukt (free) Bharat is going to become a reality now.“
Since PPA is a constituent of Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the change in political affiliation of Congress MLAs is set to put BJP in power through the back door again. NEDA was formed by BJP chief Amit Shah after the saffron party won the Assam elections in May .
The position on 18 Sept 2016, after mass defections
30 Congress MLAs who had gone to People's Party of Arunachal returned to Congress in July 2016 when Pema Khandu became CM. Of them, 29 are back in PPA
The original 5 PPA legislators
In the 2014 election, PPA had won five seats. The five legislators later defected to Congress.Now, all of them are back in PPA
Pema Khandu paraded his 42 MLAs before Assembly speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok who accepted their joining PPA
Last man standing
The only MLA who stayed back in the Congress is Nabam Tuki, who Congress replaced as CM to contain rebellion in July
PPA stints in govt
PPA ruled Arunachal Pradesh from March 3 to July 13 this year. It had formed govt once before on Sept 18, 1979 under Tomo Riba. That govt lasted 46 days
PTI’s Timeline resumes
Sept 22: President Pranab Mukherjee dismisses Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa, after it became apparent that he was not going to quit as desired by the Centre.
Nov 19: BJP fields Dasanglu Pul, the third wife of former chief minister Kalikho Pul. She wins the by-election to Hayuliang constituency. The bypoll was held following the death of Kalikho Pul.
Dec 13: Kiren Rijiju rejects allegations of being involved in a Rs. 450-crore transportation scam at a hydel power project. Opposition Congress demands ouster of Rijiju from the union council of ministers and a CBI probe.
Dec 29: Pema Khandu and six other MLAs suspended for anti-party activities.
Dec 30: Takam Pario, PHED minister, is likely to be the next Arunachal Pradesh CM, informs PPA President Kahfa Bengia.
Thousands quit BJP, rejoin Congress
Thousands of men and women, young and old, from the Lekang Assembly constituency, which falls under Arunachal Pradesh's Namsai District, and supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), rejoined the Congress Party at a rally held here recently.
The president of the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee, Takam Sanjoy, termed the attendance as a mass awakening for the prosperity of the state.
"This, however, calls for a united stand to achieve the much desired developed status of Lekang with its limited area and large population. The people, particularly the youth, are hardworking and energetic, but the local leader, despite being elected repeatedly, never cared for his voters, leading to their present horrible living conditions, , he said.
"You have revolted justifiably to demand your rights," he said, citing the example of the Woman Interim group president Lokheswari Mili (Taye) and former minister Bida Taku, who have highlighted as to how funds meant for Lekang and Mahadevpur were reportedly diverted. The Congress Party is ready to stand by you, are you ready," he asked, and was responded to with louder hoi, hoi , hoi (Yes, yes, yes).
Sanjoy, who chaired the high-powered committee on grant of LPC, said that he had submitted the report to the GoAP recommending grant of permanent residential certificate (PRC) forthwith, but the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, is yet to act. All of you, including men and women, and PR leaders have to unite to launch the agitation to achieve success, he exhorted.
He claimed that the BJP is adept at breaking up society, which the world's largest and oldest party, the INC has been uniting and integrating, and advocated non-violence agitation following the Gandhian spirit.
7 MLAs defect to BJP ally
In a jolt to the opposition People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), seven of its MLAs joined National People’s Party (NPP), which is an ally of BJP in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya.
With this, the strength of PPA has come down to two in the 60-member Arunachal assembly which is ruled by BJP. Sources said the legislators had met NPP president Conrad Sangma in Meghalaya on July 12 to finalise their entry into the party.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958
2016: three districts brought under AFSPA
Tirap, Longding and Changlang - three eastern districts of the state bordering Myanmar. The three districts have been under Afspa since January 2016.
2018: AFSPA extended by 6 months in 3 districts
Centre withdraws AFSPA from two police station areas in Arunachal
Union home ministry on Monday partially withdrew the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from two police station areas in Arunachal Pradesh. The two police stations - Likabali in West Siang district and Ruksin in East Siang district - border Assam. The Act, however, has been extended by six more months in Tirap, Longding and Changlang. -
6 of 7 JD(U) MLAs join BJP,
Just over a month after being reduced to BJP’s junior partner in Bihar, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) has lost six of its seven MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh to its NDA ally.
Three of the defecting MLAs had been under suspension for anti-party activities since late November. The group of six had elected one among them, Talem Taboh, as their new legislature party leader allegedly without the knowledge of the JD(U) brass.
Bihar CM Nitish, who is JD (U)’s national president, sought to downplay the split, saying in Patna that it would have no bearing on his party’s relationship with BJP since their alliance was “confined to Bihar”. “They (the defectors) have gone their own way,” he said.
JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi was far more candid. “Was it necessary?” he said of the six dissident MLAs’ decision and BJP’s acceptance of them. “What has happened is against the spirit of coalition politics,”. An assembly bulletin issued in Itanagar said the defecting MLAs filed papers, as required under Rule 4 of the Members of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Grounds of Defection) Rules, 1987, before crossing over to BJP.
The lone People's Party of Arunachal legislator, too, joined the saffron party. "We have accepted the letters conveying their intention to join the party," BJP's Arunachal Pradesh chief B R Waghe said.
BJP now has 48 MLAs in the 60-member House, while JD(U) has been left with one. Congress and the National People's Party have four members each and three are Independents.
Though JD(U) has an alliance with BJP in Bihar, the relationship between the two parties is unclear in Arunachal. Both sides have fielded candidates against each other in multiple segments and wards for the panchayat and municipal elections.