A few hours after President’s Rule was revoked in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday, the dissident Congress leader, Kalikho Pul, was sworn in as Chief Minister in the night.
Prior to this, both factions of the Congress, one headed by Mr.Pul and the other by former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, staked their claim to form a new government in the State.
Dissident Congress leaders told The Hindu that the swearing-in was held at the Governor’s house. “We have 32 MLAs with us, including 11 MLAs of the BJP, and have the requisite numbers to form the government”, said one of the leaders.
The total strength of the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly is 50 seats.
Mr. Tuki, whose authority was challenged by the party rebels, however, questioned the formation of a government without his approval. He said that with the revocation of President’s Rule, power would have to be restored to him and the former government should be reinstalled.
Mr. Tuki pointed out that 14 rebel MLAs had been disqualified by the Assembly Speaker.
The Congress rebels, however, disputed Mr. Tuki’s argument. A dissident leader Chowna Mein said that the Gauhati High Court had stayed the disqualification of 14 MLAs, so they could support the new government.
At present, the dissenting Congress faction consists of 21 leaders. Since they have the support of 11 BJP MLAs, they have the numerical majority in the 50-member Assembly.
On Wednesday, the Congress had appealed in the Supreme Court for maintenance of the status quo. The court, however, refused to intervene, clearing the way for the government formation.