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Jolt to BJP: Arunachal CM, Cabinet join Congress
August 28, 2004 13:32 IST
Last Updated: August 28, 2004 15:11 IST
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Gegong Apang on Saturday gave a big jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party by joining arch rival Congress along with his Cabinet colleagues.
Making the announcement at a press conference where Apang was present, Congress spokesperson Girija Vyas said, "He has full faith in Sonia Gandhi and the Congress ideology. Congress is the only party where he can survive."
The longest serving chief minister of the state, Apang had defected to BJP about a year ago.
Welcoming Apang, CWC member Ramesh Chennithala, who is in charge of party affairs in the state, said, "The chief minister, along with his entire Cabinet and workers, is joining Congress today."
The assembly elections will be held in Arunachal Pradesh on October 7.
Apang had parted ways with Congress in 1996 and floated a regional outfit Arunachal Congress, which ruled the state for the next three years.
In 1999, Mukut Methi succeeded in weaning away Apang's legislators and became chief minister after the assembly polls.
Last year, most of the legislators parted way with Mithi and joined Apang's Arunachal Congress.
He became chief minister and subsequently merged his party with BJP.
Earlier this year, Apang had dissolved the state assembly.
Thirty-four of the total 35 Congress MLAs in a 60-member House had parted ways with Mukut Mithi Government on July 27, 2003 resulting in the fall of his government.
Apang who was heading Arunchal Vikas Congress joined BJP to form a BJP-led government.
CWC member and senior party leader from the state Omen Deori, AICC Secretaries Imran Kidwai and Mabel Rebellow and a number of Congress leaders from the state were present at the party headquarters when Apang Joined the party.
Apang said in sharp contrast to the broken promises of the BJP, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has been taking interest in the problems of the state without any political considerations.
"Both, the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil made anxious inquiries about the recent devastating flood in Arunachal Pradesh and that the people of the state feel grateful to them," Apang said.
Pointing out that Arunachal Pradesh was a sensitive border state, he said there was a dominant thinking among the people of the state that Sonia Gandhi has been able to "put an end to national drift and helped install a secular government at the Centre.
"All of us in the state have a bounden duty to strengthen her hands in her quest to make India a strong nation both socially and economically," the Arunachal chief minister said.