Big test for Pema govt as EC announces Pakke-Kessang, Likabali by-polls

[ Amar Sangno ]
ITANAGAR, Nov 24: 12th Pakke-Kessang and 28th Likabali will go to the polls on Dec 21 to elect new legislative representatives.
The election commission in its press communiqué on Friday informed that last date of nomination has been set for December 4, scrutiny on Dec 5, withdrawal of candidatures on Dec 7, polling on 21 December and counting on Dec 24.
The provisions of Model Code of Conduct has been imposed in East Kameng and Lower Siang districts with immediate effect on announcement of election schedule to ensure free and fair elections.
The total number of electors in Pakke-Kessang Constituency is 7455, of which 3512 are male and 3943 female. Polling will be held in 26 booths.
In Likabali, 10608 electors (Male 5277, Female 5331) will exercise their adult franchise in 39 polling stations.
The two elections will be a test on Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s leadership and BJP performance in the state.
The battle line was drawn long back in 12th Pakke-Kessang (ST) Assembly Constituency ever since the seat fell vacant after the apex court dismissed the petition filed by then sitting MLA Kameng Dolo in May 2017 upholding the Guwahati High Court’s judgment on February 8, 2017 which ruled in favor of his opponent Atum Welly who had gone to the Court stating that his nomination papers were withdrawn without his consent.
Before the cancellation of the election date, following the advice of the state administration citing unfavorable monsoon destruction, the BJP fielded its senior party worker Biyuram Wange against former Deputy Chief Minister Kameng Dolo.
The eventual cancellation of election notification was not accepted by the Congress who had alleged that cancellation was planned by the ruling BJP to manipulate the poll by using government machineries.
Similar battle has already been drawn in 28th Likabali(ST) Assembly Constituency after former health and family welfare minister Jomde Kena passed away on 4th September last.
BJP party President Tapir Gao have a tough job ahead as he has to pick one from many BJP loyalist unlike the Congress party which apparently is fielding Modam Dini.
However, the Congress party is yet to finalise its official candidate but BJP has three prospective candidates- Gensi ZPM Kardo Nickyor, two-timed contestant veteran leader Gumke Riba and the party ST Morcha National Executive Member and two-time BJP district President Tapak Lendo.
Gensi ZPM Nickyor is said to be close confidant of late Jomde Kena’s family and unconfirmed reports say that late Kena family’s has recommended his name for the party ticket. However, this daily could not verify the facts with the family members of former Minister Jomde Kena.
Gumke Riba had contested two times already. In 2009, he contested from NCP ticket and in 2014 from the BJP. “I am a natural BJP candidate. The party needs to respect that and I hope I would be given a chance again” said Riba when contacted by the daily.
Another BJP hopeful, Lendo said, “I have been in the BJP since last 22 years and I have significantly contributed to the party and I hope it would be respected” proposing his name for the party ticket.
Sengo Taipodia is another prospective candidate, who does not have any party affiliation. Taipodia was one of the forefront campaigners for creation of Lower Siang District.
This will be the fifth by-poll in the state in Sixth Legislative Assembly as 27th Liromoba, 45th Hayuliang and 58th Kanubari Assembly Constituencies have already elected their representatives. Out of five constituencies, four fell vacant following the premature passing away of its MLAs.