From assisting his father Dorjee Khandu in politics to working for social transformation, Pema Khandu has travelled a long way to sit in the coveted post of Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.
Mr. Pema Khandu (37), the youngest Chief Minister of the country, is all set to follow the footsteps of his father and former chief minister Dorjee Khandu, who died in a chopper crash in 2011 near Luguthang in Tawang district bordering China.
Mr. Pema Khandu was elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party on Saturday in a dramatic turn of events for the beleaguered party fighting to save its government.
Graduated from Delhi’s Hindu College
The eldest son of the family, Mr. Pema Khandu, a graduate from Delhi’s prestigious Hindu College, had an early entry into governance after his father’s demise.
And in five years, he has emerged as the Chief Ministerial prospect after Supreme Court’s intervention that changed the course of politics in the State with dissidents returning to the Congress.
Tryst with politics in 2011
Mr. Khandu, who hails from Tawang, first entered the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly in 2011 to fill the vacancy caused by his father’s death. His election as MLA from Mukto (ST) constituency was uncontested and he was soon included in the State government as Cabinet Minister for Water Resource Development and Tourism in the Jarbom Gamlin Ministry. He also became the Cabinet Minister for Rural Works Department and Tourism since November 21, 2011 in Nabam Tuki government and thereafter served the State as Cabinet Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Art & Culture.
Mr. Khandu was re-inducted as the Urban Development Minister on June 1 2014 in the Nabam Tuki government after the general election. He quit as Minister in October last year and sided with dissident Kalikho Pul.
Father of three
Hailing from Gyangkhar village under Tawang district, Mr. Khandu is the father of two sons and a daughter.
He belongs to the Monpa tribe. He had joined the Congress in early 2000 and became Secretary of the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee in 2005 and president of the Tawang District Congress Committee in 2010.
Mr. Khandu was re-elected unopposed from Mukto in the 2014 assembly elections.
Soft-spoken and a globetrotter
Soft spoken and a globetrotter, Mr. Khandu, who travelled to Japan, Thailand, Macau, Sri Lanka, USA, Canada, South Africa and Bhutan, is associated with numerous socio-cultural organisations, including Bodhi Language & Literature Promotional Society as chairman.
He also championed civil-Army relations, plantation drive in hilly Tawang district, organised periodical medical camps in various parts of the district.
Avid sports lover
Besides promoting games and sports in the district, Mr. Khandu also patronised talent search among local youth to preserve traditional songs by conducting talent show in Tawang and West Kameng districts.
He is also fond of various sports including football, cricket, badminton and volleyball.
He is keen on developing a peaceful and socio-economically vibrant State with cordial relations among various tribes there.