Suspense over announcement of candidates continues

[Nellie N Manpoong]

ITANAGAR, Mar 20: Suspense over the names of the candidates contesting for the two Lok Sabha and 60 assembly constituencies continues to grow even as the last date of filing nomination papers approaches.
With only two working days left to file nominations, with the last day being 25 March, the BJP is yet to announce its candidates for six remaining assembly constituencies, which includes the all-important Itanagar assembly constituency.
Following the inordinate delay and exit of numerous MLAs from the BJP, sitting Itanagar MLA Techi Kaso said “the legislators have their individual right to leave the party,” but maintained that he has “not given any thought to leaving the BJP yet.”
On speculations that former MLA Kipa Babu may get the ticket for Itanagar, Kaso said Babu is also a party worker, and that he (Kaso) was not in a position to issue a statement until the finalization of candidates.
“If I get the ticket, I will continue to give my best efforts for the people of Itanagar. I am with the BJP till the announcement of the party ticket, and will be in the party till the BJP asks me to leave. I refuse to criticize anyone till the ticket is announced,” Kaso said.
In the event that he does not receive the BJP ticket, Kaso said he would hold talks with the party regarding the next course of action.
Babu refused to reveal whether he has received the party ticket or not.
State BJP vice president Tame Phassang is also one of the leading contenders for the ticket to the Itanagar constituency.
Speaking to this daily on the delay, state BJP president Tapir Gao said the party’s parliamentary board, which includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been engaged in Goa following the demise of chief minister Manohar Parrikar.
Gao said he could not divulge the details on the final six candidates till the parliamentary board hands him the final list.
The final list of candidates is expected to be announced by Wednesday night or Thursday morning, Gao added.
Apart from the contenders for the Itanagar constituency, Tana Hali, Tana Yami and sitting MLA Nabam Rebia are in the race for the ticket to the Doimukh constituency.
The BJP will also have to decide between Dorjee Wangdi and sitting MLA TN Thongdok for the Kalaktang ticket, while Gichik Thaji Kiogi and Jikke Tako are seeking a spot for the Tali constituency.
For Geku-Mariyang, the names of Anong Perme and sitting MLA Olom Panyang have surfaced.
While Bamang Felix’s name has not been released officially, highly-placed sources in the BJP informed that he has received the BJP ticket for the Nyapin-Sangram constituency.
While the BJP will witness an intense fight for party tickets before the actual election battle, the Congress continues to keep the names of its candidates under wraps.
Sources in the Congress informed that the party is likely to announce its candidates by Thursday.
Meanwhile, upon his arrival at the Naharlagun helipad on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pema Khandu snubbed reporters seeking a comment from him regarding the BJP’s game plan for the forthcoming elections.

Moyong files nomination
In East Siang district, BJP candidate for the Pasighat East assembly constituency, Kaling Moyong, on Wednesday filed his nomination paper before returning officer Kinny Singh, DIPRO reports.