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Search begins for Khandu�s successor

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 4 � Even as Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu�s body is being retrieved from the crash site, the AICC has quietly began the process of selecting the next Chief Minister. The choice has narrowed down to four senior State leaders of the party, including PCC president Nabam Tuki.

The AICC, however, is mulling appointment of a caretaker Chief Minister immediately to take care of the day-to-day administration. The appointment is likely to be announced soon after formal announcement of Khandu�s death.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi are expected to fly to Itanagar to pay homage to Khandu on May 6, highly placed sources told this newspaper.

A senior leader of the party told this newspaper that Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Bijoy Krishna Handique, AICC general secretary in-charge Dr Dhaniram Sandil and secretary Sanjay Bafna have been asked to talk to the MLAs to assess their opinion. The process has already started and each MLA has been contacted separately, added sources.

The other three leaders in the race include PCC president and Public Works Department and Urban Development Minister Nabam Tuki, Parliamentary Affairs, Power (Electrical) Minister Jarbom Gamlin, State Home Minister Tako Dabi, besides former Chief Minister and Rajya Sabha Member Mukut Mithi.

According to AICC sources, the two Union Ministers, Narayan Swami and Mukul Wasnik, who have since returned to the Capital, have also briefed the party high command. As of now, a significant number of MLAs have spoken in favour of the PCC president Nabam Tuki, according to initial feedback received by the AICC. Sources admitted that lobbying by the aspirants have already began.

However, sources said AICC has not taken kindly to a letter that was faxed to AICC headquarters on Wednesday evening reportedly by six State ministers in support of appointment of Gamlin as the next Chief Minister.

Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, has decided to call a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to condole the death of the Chief Minister. The meeting is also expected to discuss the issue of appointing the next Chief Minister of the State. The AICC is waiting for a formal announcement after completion of the official formalities.

Party leaders are, however, apprehensive of Gegong Apang�s next move. The State�s longest serving Chief Minister is currently embroiled in a corruption case. The former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Apang was arrested last October by sleuths of a Special Investigation Cell (SIC) probing the Rs 1000-crore scam in Public Distribution System (PDS) in Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, an old hand, Mithi too is waiting for an opportunity to return to State politics. He was first elected to State Assembly in 1985 and was Minister under Gegong Apang till 1998 before he took over as the Chief Minister in 1999 and continued up to 2003. He was later appointed as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry in 2006. He continued till 2008, before he was elected to Rajya Sabha a few months later.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Search begins for Khandu�s successor

NEW DELHI, May 4 � Even as Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu�s body is being retrieved from the crash site, the AICC has quietly began the process of selecting the next Chief Minister. The choice has narrowed down to four senior State leaders of the party, including PCC president Nabam Tuki.

The AICC, however, is mulling appointment of a caretaker Chief Minister immediately to take care of the day-to-day administration. The appointment is likely to be announced soon after formal announcement of Khandu�s death.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi are expected to fly to Itanagar to pay homage to Khandu on May 6, highly placed sources told this newspaper.

A senior leader of the party told this newspaper that Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Bijoy Krishna Handique, AICC general secretary in-charge Dr Dhaniram Sandil and secretary Sanjay Bafna have been asked to talk to the MLAs to assess their opinion. The process has already started and each MLA has been contacted separately, added sources.

The other three leaders in the race include PCC president and Public Works Department and Urban Development Minister Nabam Tuki, Parliamentary Affairs, Power (Electrical) Minister Jarbom Gamlin, State Home Minister Tako Dabi, besides former Chief Minister and Rajya Sabha Member Mukut Mithi.

According to AICC sources, the two Union Ministers, Narayan Swami and Mukul Wasnik, who have since returned to the Capital, have also briefed the party high command. As of now, a significant number of MLAs have spoken in favour of the PCC president Nabam Tuki, according to initial feedback received by the AICC. Sources admitted that lobbying by the aspirants have already began.

However, sources said AICC has not taken kindly to a letter that was faxed to AICC headquarters on Wednesday evening reportedly by six State ministers in support of appointment of Gamlin as the next Chief Minister.

Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, has decided to call a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to condole the death of the Chief Minister. The meeting is also expected to discuss the issue of appointing the next Chief Minister of the State. The AICC is waiting for a formal announcement after completion of the official formalities.

Party leaders are, however, apprehensive of Gegong Apang�s next move. The State�s longest serving Chief Minister is currently embroiled in a corruption case. The former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Apang was arrested last October by sleuths of a Special Investigation Cell (SIC) probing the Rs 1000-crore scam in Public Distribution System (PDS) in Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, an old hand, Mithi too is waiting for an opportunity to return to State politics. He was first elected to State Assembly in 1985 and was Minister under Gegong Apang till 1998 before he took over as the Chief Minister in 1999 and continued up to 2003. He was later appointed as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry in 2006. He continued till 2008, before he was elected to Rajya Sabha a few months later.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)