ITANAGAR, July 16 - In a dramatic turn of events, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on Saturday resigned a few hours ahead of his scheduled floor test as directed by the Governor, paving the way for nomination of former Chief Minister late Dorjee Khandu�s son Pema Khandu as the new leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP).
On a day of fast developments, Kalikho Pul, the rebel-turned Chief Minister who was unseated by the Supreme Court, also returned to the party fold with 30 dissident MLAs.
Pema Khandu, the 37-year-old MLA from the Mukto constituency in Tawang district, met Governor Tathagata Roy and staked claim to form the government.
Coming out of Raj Bhavan, Khandu told the waiting journalists: �Nabam Tuki has tendered his resignation from the CLP and the Chief Minister�s post and after that we had a CLP meeting where I was elected as the new leader. We have also received clearance from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi. I have handed over to the Governor a list of 44 legislators supporting me as the Chief Minister.�
He also said that he enjoys the support 47 MLAs, including two Independents.
Asked when he will be sworn in, Khandu, who was accompanied by Tuki, AICC secretary in-charge of Arunachal Jayakumar, APCC president Padi Richo and Kalikho Pul, said the Governor has not given any commitment as yet. �The Governor has told me that he will go through the documents and then let me know very soon,� he said.
To a query, Khandu said, �It�s a big victory for the Congress in Arunachal Pradesh and victory for the entire team, including Nabam Tuki and Kalikho Pul.�
The outgoing CM Tuki alleged that the BJP wanted to break up Arunachal Pradesh and divide and finish the Congress. �Now, we are united and there are no differences,� Tuki said, indicating that political instability in the State has now become �a thing of the past�.
Tuki further said: �The recent crisis was started by the BJP. However, all their evil designs have failed as the Congress has been able to put its house in order. I hope it will be a big lesson for the BJP,� he said.
Earlier, in the morning hours, burying all their �differences of opinion� all the 30 �rebel� Congress MLAs, including Pul, returned to the party fold and converged at the Chief Minister�s office here for the CLP meet where Khandu was chosen as the leader.
His name was proposed by Tuki and seconded by Chowna Mein, which was unanimously accepted by all 44 MLAs, except Speaker Nabam Rebia, who did not attend the meeting.
When elected, Khandu will become the youngest Chief Minister of the State.
Born on August 29, 1979, Khandu is the eldest son of former CM Dorjee Khandu, who died in a chopper crash in May 2011. A graduate from Hindu College under the Delhi University, he was first appointed as the Minister for Water Resources and Tourism in the Jarbom Gamlin government. He won an uncontested election from his father�s constituency, Mukto, on June 30, 2011. Later, he served as the Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister in the Nabam Tuki government in 2011. Khandu, however, resigned from the Tuki Cabinet in October 2015 and joined the Pul camp.
Meanwhile, Congress sources said that top party leaders, including the Congress president and the vice president, spoke to several party MLAs and requested them to come back to the party fold.