CM says it is a routine exercise, Congress sources say expelled trio were dissidents

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on Friday reshuffled his 28-month old Ministry by dropping three Cabinet Ministers and replacing them with a former minister and two Parliamentary Secretaries.

Mr. Tuki dropped his three Cabinet Ministers — Finance, Planning and Public Work Department Minister Chowna Mein, Health and Family Welfare Minister Atum Welly and Transport Service and Cooperation Minister Jarkar Gamlin. The three new Ministers are former Finance Minister Kalikho Pul and Parliamentary Secretaries Kumar Waii and Gojen Gadi. After the three new Ministers were sworn in by Governor Lt Gen (retd) Nirbhay Sharma at Raj Bhawan in Itanagar, Mr. Tuki told journalists that the reshuffle was “routine” and added that it was carried out on the basis of the performance of the ministers.

Congress sources said that Mr. Tuki sacked the three Ministers for allegedly raising a banner of revolt and seeking a change of guard in the border State. The Chief Minister, however, denied knowledge of any dissidence in the ruling party.

“Shocked at decision”

Expressing shock over the development, Mr. Mein, who is currently camping in Delhi, told The Hindu he had no knowledge that the Chief Minister was going to drop him from the Ministry. “I am shocked at such a decision. But I am loyal to the party and therefore will continue to serve the party. However, if someone has raised any question on my performance, then it is not based on facts and is very unfortunate. During my tenure as Finance Minister, Arunachal Pradesh was praised for bringing financial discipline and improving the financial situation when several other States in the North-east were resorting to overdraft and not being able manage their financial situation,” he said.

Media reports denied

Mr. Mein also denied media reports that he was involved in any dissident activities and demanding a change of guard in Arunachal Pradesh. He said that he had not raised any such demand before central Congress leaders and also had no plan to meet any Central leader to meet over the latest development. “I am returning to Itanagar to attend the assembly session beginning on March 4,” he added.

The former minister, however, said that there was internal democracy within the Congress party and therefore, it was not unusual if any member raise any demand on the party forum.