In a major blow to Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU) in Arunachal Pradesh, six of the seven party legislators in the state have defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
This comes days ahead of the announcement of local body polls in the state. JDU now has only one MLA in the frontier state’s 60-seat assembly.
The MLAs who have officially joined the BJP as per a state legislative assembly bulletin are Talem Taboh, Hayeng Mangfi, Jikke Tako, DW Kharma, Dongru Siongju and Kanggong Taku.
Three of the six JDU legislators, Siongju, Kharma and Taku, had been suspended and served a show-cause notice for anti-party activities.
As per reports, the defected MLAs had allegedly selected Talem Taboh as the new party leader without the knowledge of senior party members.
Further, lone MLA from the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), Kardo Nyigyo has also joined BJP. He too was suspended from the regional party earlier this month.
Reports state that JDU chief Nitish Kumar is extremely upset at the switchover and seeing it as BJP’s betrayal. Though JDU and BJP are not in alliance in Arunachal, it supports the BJP-led government.
Now, BJP has 48 seats in the 60-member assembly, followed by four each from Congress and National People’s Party, one from the JDU and three independents.