ITANAGAR, Jan 17: In yet another instance of change of party, two MLAs of the National People’s Party (NPP), Tapang Taloh and Rajesh Tacho, on Thursday rejoined the Congress party after a brief stay in the NPP.
The duo, along with five MLAs of the People’s Party of Arunachal, had joined the NPP only in July last year. They had been elected on Congress tickets in 2014, but had later joined the PPA.
Former ministers Lishi Legi and Komoli Mossang and senior BJP leader Eri Tayu also joined the Congress on the occasion.
The joining of Tayu, who was a state executive member of the BJP and who fought twice on the saffron party’s ticket from Anini, is considered to be a major coup for the Congress.
Speaking to The Arunachal Times, Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Takam Sanjoy termed their joining “a sign of the Congress’ revival in the state” and claimed that MLAs are “finally realizing that only the Congress can provide good governance to the people of Arunachal Pradesh.”
Sanjoy expressed confidence that the grand old party would defeat the disarrayed BJP in the coming assembly and parliament elections, both in the state and at the centre.
Sanjoy also welcomed the decision of former chief minister Gegong Apang to resign from the BJP.
“His decision to quit, citing various issues, including the controversial citizenship amendment bill (CAB), should be a wakeup call for the state. This bill is against the interests of Arunachal Pradesh and will make our state a dumping ground of refugees,” the APCC president said.
He also questioned the silence of the state BJP leaders on the CAB.
“From the chief minister to the ministers, the union MoS for Home and the state BJP president, all are keeping mum on this bill. The fear of being denied party tickets has made them compromise with the future of the state. But we will not keep silent and will launch statewide protests against the bill from 24 January onwards,” Sanjoy said.
He meanwhile welcomed the clearance of the proposal for the greenfield airport in Hollongi, and sought to dispel fears that the Congress was trying to create hurdles against the project.
“It is unfortunate that it took four-and-a-half years to clear this project. But still we appreciate the central government for clearing this project.
“But the state government has misused the Nabam Rebia committee to declare foothill areas like Balijan, Tarasso, Hollongi and Kokila as government land, thereby putting a huge question mark over land ownership of the people of the area,” Sanjoy said.
Urging the state government to immediately clear the status of the land, he also criticized the government for drastically bringing down the rate of compensation for land for the airport.
“In Hollongi, to acquire land for the NDRF, the rate was fixed at Rs 1014 per square metre, but for the airport it has been fixed at Rs 507 per square metre. Everyone knows that the NDRF comes under the home ministry, which is headed by MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju. Why did the state government change the rate for the airport without conducting a public hearing?” he questioned.
However, the APCC president said compensation was not a major issue and “first of all, the state government should clear the status of land in Hollongi and start work for construction of the airport at the earliest.”