Congress ropes in NCP, TMC MLAs

In what has been seen as an attempt to silence the brewing dissension within the rank and file of the Congress, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki roped in five Nationalist Congress Party and four Trinamul Congress Party legislators into the party fold.
Taking the existing strength of 46 legislators to 55 in 60-member state Assembly, Mr Tuki, however, claimed that the MLAs who joined the party on Monday originally belonged to the Congress. “They expressed their willingness to work for the development of the state and its like home coming for them,” Mr Tuki told reporters in Itanagar.
The political development has reduced the strength of the Opposition in the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly to five — the BJP with three seats and the TMC and Independents with one seat each.
The Congress, which contested the 2009 Assembly elections under the leadership of the late chief minister Dorjee Khandu, had won 42 seats, TMC and NCP five each, BJP three, People’s Party of Arunachal four and one Independent. Four PPA MLAs had joined the Congress in February.
With nine MLAs joining the party, the visible strength of the party has swollen, but Congress insiders describe it a desperate move of the CM to counter his opponents who were said to have been joining rank to challenge his leadership. If insiders are to be believed, the dissension started following Mr Tuki’s alleged move to prop up alternative leadership in the constituency of nearly 20 senior Congress MLAs considered a threat to his leadership.
Some of the legislators have already expressed their unhappiness and pleaded before Mr Tuki not to ignore Congress legislators while visiting their constituency.
The Congress insiders at Itanagar felt that in order to neutralise the polarisation of his opponents, Mr Tuki was also pushing the name of Mr Mukut Mithi, former chief minister and member of Rajya Sabha, for inclusion into the Union Cabinet.

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