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Pema Khandu sworn in as Arunachal CM

By Tapan Kumar Das

ITANAGAR, July 17 - Two-time Congress MLA and former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister late Dorjee Khandu�s eldest son Pema Khandu was today sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of the frontier state, replacing the incumbent Nabam Tuki, who resigned yesterday a few hours before he was to face a floor test as directed by the Governor.

Along with 37-year-old Khandu, who was yesterday elected as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), senior legislator from Lekang constituency in Namsai district, Chowna Mein was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Governor Tathagata Roy administered the oath of office and secrecy to both Khandu, who became the youngest Chief Minister of the state, and Mein in a brief ceremony at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan here this noon.

Also present in the function were former Chief Ministers Nabam Tuki and Kalikho Pul, Speaker Nabam Rebia, party MLAs, AICC secretary in-charge of Arunachal Pradesh Dr K Jayakumar, State Congress president Padi Richo, senior State government officials and a sea of supporters and well-wishers of the young leader Khandu.

Later talking to reporters at the Chief Minister�s Office, Khandu said since his government has not come winning a fresh election, it will continue to accord priority to the policies and programmes continuing for last two years, giving specific focus on pending projects for their early completion.

Citing that his late father Dorjee Khandu did a lot for the state during his four-year chief ministership, Khandu said: �He initiated so many actions that people had a bounty of expectations and there are many of his projects which are still pending. I will try to fulfil all the expectations and complete all his pending projects.�

Further, his government�s other priority areas will be to harness to the fullest the potential of natural resources, tourism, agriculture and horticulture sectors, apart from the social sectors � health, education and communication.

Pema Khandu, who was a part of the group of 30 Congress lawmakers who led by Pul had rebelled against Tuki�s leadership, said, �My main agenda will be �Team Arunachal� (a motto, worked out by his late father) wherein all legislators cutting across party lines � be it Congress, BJP or Independent � will work as a team to take forward the state on the path to development.�

He said, �We should not play politics when it comes to development of the state. I vow, I will work for all-round development of the state with support and cooperation from the seniors and blessings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi (NDA government at the Centre).�

Replying to a volley of queries on execution of mega power projects, the new Chief Minister informed that his government will take the people of project-affected areas into confidence while executing the projects.

Regarding the �stalled� 2000 MW Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project, located at Gerukamukh on Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, Khandu said he will talk to his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal in this connection to find a way out.

On likely formation of his cabinet, which he vowed within a day or two, but since the Governor is out on a tour soon after his swearing-in ceremony, an indication that it will take time, Khandu said that it will be a mixture of seniors and young faces, and above all, the performing ones with experience.

Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, who was also present at the press meet, said, �Pema Khandu may be only 37 years old, but he is very mature. We will give a very stable government.�

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