ITANAGAR: The presence of the lone regional party from Arunachal Pradesh, People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), became non-existent with the two remaining MLAs joining the Congress before the 2019 elections.

In July this year, seven of its nine legislators had joined the Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party (NPP), reducing the PPA’s strength to just two, effectively weakening the opposition’s strength since the NPP is an alliance partner with the BJP in the state governments of Manipur, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.

On September 19, leader of opposition and PPA legislative party leader, Takam Pario, along with Tali constituency MLA Markio Tado, returned to the Congress. Both MLAs were originally elected from Congress tickets in the 2014 elections.

The change of their party affiliation was accepted by the legislative assembly speaker under Rule 4 of the Members of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1987.

The move, however, has not gone down well with the PPA.

Party secretary general, Kaling Jerang, today said that neither he nor the party was aware of such a development and called it ‘cheating’.

“We did not receive such information, and I have not been in communication with Pario,” he said.

Jerang said that other MLAs can leave without notice but that the party “does not expect such initiative from the leader of the opposition and leader of the PPA legislative party”.

He also accused Pario of colluding the with the state Congress president, former Lok Sabha MP Takam Sanjoy, who also happens to be Pario’s brother.

“It shows that there is a tacit understanding between the two. This is cheating,” he said.

Pario could not be contacted for a comment.

State Congress president Takam Sanjoy refused to comment on the matter but said that both his party and the PPA will speak to the media.

While Jerang said that it is too early to comment on the PPA’s future with regards to next year’s election, the next few weeks will set the tone for political development in the state.

Earlier in May, chief minister Pema Khandu had said that the BJP will not form a pre-poll alliance with any party in the state, despite the fact that the NPP is party to the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).

The NPP, on the other hand, said in August that the party is open to form a pre-poll alliance with “like-minded parties”.

(Cover Photo: Markio Tado and Takam Pario)