NPP press conference at Itanagar on Tuesday evening Credit: EastMojo image

Itanagar: In a major setback to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Arunachal Pradesh, three senior leaders of the party — home minister Kumar Waii, tourism minister Jarkar Gamlin and former BJP general secretary Jarpum Gamlin — shifted their loyalty to Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma-led National People’s Party (NPP) on Tuesday.

In all, 18 public leaders joined the party including a large section of prominent leaders, former ministers and legislators.

Besides Waii, Jarkar and Jarpum, the others to join the party were sitting BJP legislators Thangwang Wangham, Tapuk Taku, Pani Taram, Pangka Bage, Wangling Lowandong and Kardo Nyigyor and ex-minister Tsering Jurmey.

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Addressing media persons at a city hotel in Itanagar on Tuesday evening, NPP general secretary (in-charge of Arunachal Pradesh) Thomas Sangma said that the NPP would now try to field candidates for at least 30-40 seats in the 60-member Assembly. “We will form our own government if we win in all the seats,” Sangma said while denying any pre poll alliance with other parties for now.

Clarifying his stand behind joining the NPP, Waii said that it is the only party that represents the entire northeast region.

Under the strong leadership of Conard Sangma, we hope to have a prime minister from the region in the future, he said. Waii also alleged the BJP of being a party with wrong ideologies and one with full of lies.

“Had the BJP been right, I would have still been in the party. The ideology of the party is to term the country first, then state and then individual, but, when it came to distribution of tickets, we could see a good sign of family politics,” Waii said while referring to Khandu without naming him.

He said that he was still confused over the fact that the party had given 3 tickets to one family and where that vision was that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or that of CM Khandu’s.

Waii also said that NPP is a secular party unlike the BJP.

Also to speak was Jarpum Gamlin who said he was left with no choice other than choosing his people.

Being a leader you represent your people so I chose them,” he said while adding that he was till recent under the impression that he was still in the run up for the assembly tickets.

NPP legislator Mutchu Mithi claimed that the NPP has its own ideologies and agendas which are pro-people and the same would go long way in keeping the interests of the indigenous people intact.

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It is pertinent to mention here that all the sitting MLAs including Jarpum were denied a party ticket by the BJP which on Sunday declared the names of candidates for the 54 seats in the 60-member Assembly.

Where Jarpum had resigned from the party on Monday expressing that he couldn’t let down the expectations of his supporters, Waii had on the other hand blamed Chief Minister Pema Khandu of not giving him the ticket as he allegedly thought of his as a CM candidate.

The NPP is expected to announce the final list of its candidates by Wednesday.

Election to the 60-member Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats in Arunachal will be held simultaneously on April 11.

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