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AP CM’s Body Arrives In Itanagar

ITANAGAR, May 5: The body of Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu, who died in a helicopter crash along with four others, arrived in state capital Itanagar Thursday.

All the five bodies were retrieved from the crash site located near the Sela Pass, at about 13,700 feet altitude on Thursday morning.

“The bodies of the two pilots are charred beyond recognition and it would probably require medical tests to identify them, while the chief minister’s body bore injuries but was not charred,” Kiren Rijiju, adviser to the chief minister, said.

The bodies of the two pilots were flown to New Delhi, while the bodies of one woman and the personal security officer would be cremated at Tawang. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi will arrive in Itanagar on Friday to pay their respects. Cremation of the chief minister will take place on Friday in his ancestral home in Tawang district.

Thousands of people lined up the streets of Itanagar as the cortege carrying the body of Dorjee Khandu was driven to the chief minister’s official residence.

Meanwhile, the swearing in of a new chief minister in Arunachal Pradesh is likely to take place by tonight, as Congress legislators in a resolution on Thursday authorized party president Sonia Gandhi to choose a successor to Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Tawang district on Saturday. Raj Bhawan PRO Atum Potom said “There is every possibility of the swearing-in tonight.”

Front-runners in the race are Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president and PWD minister Nabam Tuki, power Minister Jarbom Gamlin, finance Minister Setong Sena and RWD Minister Kalikho Pul, party sources said.

Though most aspirants for the top post were tight lipped, a senior party leader said on condition of anonymity that Congress legislators were interviewed individually by top leaders, including union ministers Handique, V Narayansamy, Mukul Wasnik and Salman Khursheed.

Later, a single line resolution by the CLP was faxed to the Congress president.  Union minister for development of North Eastern region BK Handique had hinted earlier in the day that the new chief minister would take the oath of office in the evening.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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