BJP’s victory march has begun from Land of Rising Sun: Pema Khandu

The BJP won 46 of the 60 seats in Arunachal Pradesh Assembly election, five more than in 2019

Updated - June 02, 2024 10:28 pm IST

Published - June 02, 2024 10:16 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu submits his resignation to State Governor Lieutenant Gen (Retd.) KT Parnaik, at Raj Bhawan in Itanagar on June 2, 2024

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu submits his resignation to State Governor Lieutenant Gen (Retd.) KT Parnaik, at Raj Bhawan in Itanagar on June 2, 2024 | Photo Credit: ANI


A tragedy – the death of his father and former Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu in a helicopter crash – saw him winning his first Assembly election uncontested from the Mukto seat in 2011.

Barring the 2019 elections, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has won the “family constituency” uncontested thrice, the first time for the BJP ahead of the State’s Mandate 2024. In doing so, the 44-year-old established himself as the power centre in India’s easternmost State.

“The BJP’s victory march in the country has begun from India’s Land of the Rising Sun,” he said after the BJP won 46 of the 60 seats, five more than in 2019. He credited the victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and the pro-development pitch of his party.

Mr. Khandu held various positions in Congress after joining it in 2000 but his political graph kept rising after he filled the void left behind by his father in Mukto. He became a Minister in Nabam Tuki’s Congress government and the BJP-supported government of Kalikho Pul after a constitutional crisis led to the imposition of President’s Rule in January 2016.

The late Pul’s government was short-lived after the Supreme Court restored Mr. Tuki’s status as the Chief Minister. But the latter resigned and Mr. Khandu, then 37, succeeded him.

Mr. Khandu’s political acumen became apparent three months into his term when he masterminded the defection of 43 Congress MLAs to the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), then an ally of the BJP. In December 2016, he joined the BJP along with most of the PPA legislators to hand the saffron party its second government in the State.

He led the BJP to a big win in 2019 to continue in power, allegedly clipping the wings of many who tried to form coteries within the party.

A history graduate from Delhi’s Hindu College, Mr. Khandu is a member of the Buddhist Monpa community that dominates Tawang and parts of West Kameng districts. He is credited with making Arunachal Pradesh a sports powerhouse in the northeast and is known to sing Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi classics at official and cultural gatherings.

In the run-up to the simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls on April 19, he promised a government that would be corruption-free, transparent, and people-centric.

“As a disciplined party, the BJP can provide good governance,” he said, adding that the party leadership will decide who will head the government in Arunachal Pradesh after the Lok Sabha results are declared on June 4.

Mr. Khandu later met Governor K.T. Parnaik and tendered his resignation along with his Council of Ministers. The Governor subsequently ordered the dissolution of the Assembly.

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