Former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul was found hanging at the official chief minister’s residence in Itanagar on Tuesday.
“The body was found hanging around 9 am by a servant. He may have committed suicide on Monday night itself,” DGP Arunachal Pradesh S Nithianandam told Hindustan Times.
Preliminary investigation did not reveal any foul play. Police have taken possession of the body and sent it for post mortem.
The 47-year-old, who held the CM’s post for about five months, had left office last month after a Supreme Court ruling ordered removal of his government. But he hadn’t vacated his official residence.
“It is sad and really unfortunate that young leader Kalikho Pul is no more with us,” ex-CM Nabam Tuki told ANI. “A loss for entire Arunachal Pradesh. The Congress family is with his family in this moment of grief.”
Pul belonged to the Kaman Mishmi tribe and hailed from Walla village in eastern Arunachal Pradesh’s Anjaw district — among the most backward areas. He won his maiden assembly election from the Hayulliang seat in 1995. His portfolios included finance, power and health.
Supporters of the deceased leader came out on the streets and set ablaze a coffin in a symbolic protest against his death, ANI reported. The situation in the capital city was said to be tense.
Pul held the unique distinction of being the first Congress chief minister to be installed with support from arch rivals Bharatiya Janata Party.
Arunachal Pradesh had plunged into political crisis in November 2015 after 21 of the Congress’ 47 legislators rebelled against then chief minister Nabam Tuki. The Centre imposed President’s Rule on January 26, and Pul, the leader of the Congress dissidents’ faction, was sworn in as chief minister on February 19.
However, the Supreme Court restored the Congress government, scrapping all decisions by the governor that precipitated the fall of the previous administration and ended Pul’s tenure at the helm in the state.
Last month, Pema Khandu, son of former chief minister Dorjee Khandu, was elected chief minister in a dramatic turn of events after Pul and 30 other former rebel Congress MLAs returned to the party.
Pul, who had a bachelor in arts degree, was into social activism and associated with several educational institutes in Anjaw district before joining active politics. He had joined the Congress as a teenager in the 1980s.
He is survived by three wives and four children.