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Apang is Arunachal Pradesh chief minister

October 13, 2004 22:41 IST

Gegong Apang will be the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh following his unamious election as the leader of the 34-member Congress Legislature Party in Itanagar on Wednesday night.

The 57-year-old Apang was elected the leader at an hour-long meeting of CLP in the presence of two AICC observers -- Union Minister Oscar Fernandes and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Apang's name was proposed by Pradesh Congress Committee president Mukut Mithi, considered the elder politician's rival for the top post, putting at rest speculation of a contest.

The two AICC observers announced the election of Apang after the CLP meeting.

The Congress retained power in the state winning 34 seats in the 60-member assembly elections for which were held on October 7.

Both Apang and Mihti were vying for the top post, but with the Congress high command preferring astuteness over party loyalty, Mithi had to bow out of the race.

What added weight to Apang's claim to the post was the support he received from 13 independent MLAs, many of whom had contested as rebel Congressmen, and two lawmakers each of NCP and Arunachal Congress in a state where political loyalties change fast and top politicians hedge their bet.

The CLP meeting was originally scheduled to be held at 11:00 am but was defered to 8:00 pm because of the late arrival of the AICC observers.

Asked when the swearing in would take place, Oscar Fernandes said it would take place after the meeting with Governor V C Pande.

Replying to a question, he said, "This was a unanimous decision. There was absolutely no difference of opinion and we are sure to provide a stable government. This is an example of unity shown by Congressmen."

Answering a query whether Mithi would get the post of deputy chief minister, Fernandes said, "For the time being, the CLP leader has been selected. Later on, we will see."

On the offer of 13 independents to support Apang and join the government, CWC member Ramesh Chennithala said, "We will look into it later."

Tarun Gogoi said, "Our job was made easier because the CLP leader was an absolutely unanimous choice and it has provided an example for all Congressmen to follow."

Earlier, speaking at CLP meeting, Apang said he would approach the Planning Commision to provide more funds to the state for hastening the pace of development.

He said efficient legislators would be chosen as ministers and there would be absolutely no difference among Congressmen and "and we will complete a full five year term."



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