takam pario
Takam Pario becomes Arunachal Pradesh CM. Pictured: Takam ParioFacebook/Takam Pario

Takam Pario took over on Friday as the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister after Pema Khandu was suspended on Thursday. Khandu and other MLAs were trying to merge the People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to PPA president Kahfa Bengia.

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Khandu was temporarily suspended from PPA along with six other legislators for alleged anti-party activities. He is also no longer the leader of the PPA Legislature Party.

Pario is the MLA from Palin constituency. He is also the richest MLA in the state, with declared wealth of Rs 187 crore. Pario is the brother of former Congress MP Takam Sanjay, who lost to Kiren Rijiju in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Pario was the Public Health Engineering Department minister. 

Khandu, deputy CM Chowna Mein, Zingnu Namchom, Passang Dorjee Sona, Chow Tewa Mein, Jambey Tashi and Kamlung Mossang were the ones who were suspended.

PPA president Bengia said in a party order that disciplinary proceedings were being initiated against the MLAs. He added that he had proof against them for indulging in anti-party activities. He also directed party MLAs and PPA functionaries to not attend any meetings called by Khandu. Those who fail to comply will also face disciplinary action, he added. 

The PPA is part of the North East Democratic Alliance, a political coalition formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party along with other regional parties.

"Pema was earlier unanimously elected, we still consider Pema Khandu as the chief minister," said state BJP president Tapir Gao. 

At least 12 BJP MLAs in Arunachal are strongly backing government-led by Pema Khandu, said BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav to ANI. 

Arunachal Pradesh has been witnessing political turmoil for months now. Khandu and 43 Congress MLAs had defected from the Congress earlier this year, and had agreed to return if the then chief minister, Nabam Tuki, stepped down. They had joined the PPA, forcing the Congress government out in 2016.  

Tuki had stepped down to make way for Khandu as chief minister and leader of the legislative party.