Campaigning picks up pace in Arunachal

ITANAGAR, Apr 1: With electioneering gaining momentum for the simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls in Arunachal Pradesh, political parties are banking on star campaigners, social media platforms and door-to-door visits to woo voters in the northeastern state.
The ruling BJP as well as the opposition Congress have invited star campaigners to hold public meetings in the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to speak at a rally in Pasighat in East Siang district on 3 April next.
Modi had addressed a public meeting in Aalo in West Siang district on 30 March.
“Party president Amit Shah will hold another public meeting in Namsai on 5 April, and union minister Rajnath Singh is likely to hold an election rally in the state later this week,” state BJP executive vice president Tame Phassang said.
“We are conducting door-to-door campaigns in all the villages under the supervision of our district presidents, and election campaign offices have been opened in the villages,” Phassang, also the chairman of the BJP’s campaign committee, said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi are likely to address election rallies in the state but the dates have not yet been finalized, Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) general secretary Chera Taya said.
“We are canvassing for our candidates in all the constituencies and also banking on social media to drum up support for our nominees,” Taya said.
The National Peoples Party (NPP), contesting for the first time in the states electoral scene, is counting on its president Conrad Sangma, who is the chief minister of Meghalaya, as its star campaigner.
The NPP is a member of the BJP-floated North East Democratic Alliance.
The Janata Dal (United) and the Janata Dal (Secular), also making their debut in the state’s assembly polls, are yet to finalize the names of their star campaigners.
Campaigning has also come of age in the state with the use of social media like Facebook and WhatsApp.
With television and radio still being used by candidates and campaigners, social media is being extensively used to woo young voters.
The BJP is seeking a mandate for curbing corruption and initiating development work while opposition Congress is putting forth the Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH) compensation scam as its poll plank, party leaders said.
The contentious PRC issue, which resulted in the death of three persons in police firing in February, is likely to be another issue to be taken up by the majority of the opposition parties.
Though Chief Minister Pema Khandu had withdrawn the move, the Congress has raked up the issue of police firing on the protestors.
The grant of permanent resident certificates (PRC) to the non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes (APST) communities of Namsai and Changlang districts had also caused loss of public and private properties.
Claiming that the BJP would bring back the citizenship amendment bill if it is elected, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had told an election rally on 19 March that his party would scrap the bill if voted back to power.
The BJP is also banking on development, particularly the implementation of the welfare programmes of the NDA government at the Centre. Arunachal Pradesh has a BJP-led government.
Elections to Arunachal Pradesh’ 57 assembly seats and two parliamentary constituencies will be held simultaneously on 11 April. Three BJP candidates were elected unopposed to the 60-member house after the final date of withdrawal of candidature on 28 March. (PTI)