INC says thousands rejoined as BJP challenges claim

‘Long-time residents deprived of rights’

MAHADEVPUR, Feb 16: Thousands of people from Lekang assembly constituency in Namsai district quit the BJP and rejoined the Indian National Congress (INC) during a rally organised here by the party on Friday.
Terming the event a “mass awakening,” Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Takam Sanjoy called for a united stand to bring development in Lekang.
“The people, particularly the youths, are hardworking and energetic, but the local leader, despite being elected repeatedly, never cared for his voters, leading to their horrible living conditions,” he said.
Lauding the people’s “revolt to demand their rights,” Sanjoy cited the example of Women’s Interim Group president Lokheswari Mili (Taye) and former minister Bida Taku, who have both spoken about how funds meant for Lekang and Mahadevpur were reportedly diverted.
Sanjoy, who had chaired a high-powered committee meeting on granting of LPC, said he “submitted the report to the state government, recommending granting of permanent residential certificates (PRC) forthwith, but the GoAP is yet to act.”
He exhorted the people, including panchayat members, to “launch an agitation to achieve success.” He, however, advocated non-violent agitation, in keeping with the Gandhian spirit.
APCC general secretary in charge of Namsai, Nuney Tayang said it was shocking that the people of Lekang had earlier deserted the Congress despite the INC having given them so much, ever since the time of the state’s first MP Chowkhaman Gohain.
“The BJP has proved to be an exploiter of the poor and the downtrodden, while the INC is known as their saviour,” he said.
All India Mahila Congress Committee general secretary Jarjum Ete also spoke.
Leaders from Sitapuri, Eraloni, Kopatoni, Wisali, Krishnapur, Kalgudi, Mahaloni, Dharampur, and Mahadevpur I to IV villages under Lekang circle spoke out about their sufferings under the BJP.
“We are Moran, Deori, Mishing/Miri, Adivasi, Motok/Moran, Kochari, Sonwar, Ahom and Nepali, living here since time immemorial; but we are deprived of our rights. We do not have land rights, and those of us who served the state government in various capacities never received their pensions,” they said.
“We go to state capital after obtaining ILP. Either we are not Arunachalees or our villages are not within Arunachal,” Mili said.
She also demanded to know why local MLA Chowna Mein neglected them when they were his voters.
“When the villagers of flood ravaged Mahadevpur-I were living in tents, Mein did not visit the victims even once,” she claimed.
“Lekang area is infested by the drug menace. Mein has built a multicultural hall which is supposed to be a centre to treat drug addicts. But it is for name’s sake as no treatment facility has been provided as yet,” Mili said.
Meanwhile, members of the Arunachal Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) burnt an effigy of RSS chief Mohan Bhagvat as a protest over his comment that RSS cadres could be ready in three days to protect the borders while the Army takes six months.
A 30-member team led by Nyasam Jongsam, a team from Tirap led by DCC president Chongkkom Hondik, APCC vice presidents Thingap Taiju and Mikir Lollen, general secretaries, presidents Kamla Lingi (APMCC), Geli Ete (APYC) and Teli Mello Camdir (NSUI), and Seva Dal chief organizer Kipa Kaha were among those present at the rally.
Meanwhile, the state BJP has challenged the APCC’s claim that thousands of people from Lekang constituency joined the Congress.
Accusing the APCC of spreading “mis-propaganda” by issuing such a press statement, BJP spokesperson Dominic Tadar said, “Not a single genuine BJP member has joined the Congress, and those who joined it were BJP rivals during the 2014 elections and had joined the BJP for personal gains.”
He said the BJP enjoys absolute majority in the Lekang assembly constituency under the leadership of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein.