[ Amar Sangno and Nellie N Manpoong ]
ITANAGAR, May 23: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) saffron wave has swept across entire Arunachal Pradesh in the parliamentary as well as the assembly election.
Although the official declaration is awaited, it looks like the party is winning the two Lok Sabha seats in the state, for the first time in its political history, with the latest update showing MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju and state BJP president Tapir Gao both winning comfortably from Arunachal West and Arunachal East, respectively.
Going by the updates on the Election Commission of India’s website, it also appears that the BJP is going to create history by winning the majority of the seats in the assembly election in Arunachal. At the time of writing, the party was projected to win 37 to 38 seats in the 60-member assembly.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu won his first electoral battle in the Mukto assembly constituency in Tawang district. Khandu defeated the low-profile Indian National Congress (INC) candidate, Thupten Kunphen, by a thumping 2619 votes. A total of 6084 votes were cast.
Meanwhile, deputy CM and the BJP candidate for Chowkham in Namsai district, Chowna Mein, registered a record-breaking winning margin of 7291 votes against INC candidate Khunang Kri.
Mein is one of the longest serving MLAs in the state legislative assembly, with six consecutive terms.
However, the contestant who has won by the highest margin in the state so far is Chau Zingnu Namchoom of the BJP, who defeated his rival, Mualin Agan of the NPP, by 10,755 votes.
Leader of opposition, Takam Pario (INC) was defeated by BJP candidate Balo Raja by 730 votes in Palin, while newcomer BJP candidate Goruk Pordung ousted three-time sitting MLA and former home minister Kumar Waii (NPP) in Bameng by 393 votes.
At the same time, some of the ruling party’s prominent candidates lost, including former legislative assembly speaker TN Thongdok, who was dislodged by the Janata Dal (United)’s Wangdi Dorjee Kharma by a huge margin of 1772 votes in Kalaktang. Former power minister Tamiyo Taga lost to JD (U) candidate Talem Taboh by 85 votes in Rumgong, and Dr Mohesh Chai lost to independent candidate Karikho Kri by 155 votes in Tezu.
Veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Nabam Tuki emerged victorious from the Sagalee assembly constituency in Papum Pare district, defeating his rival, the NPP’s Tarh Hari, by 1321 votes; however, he lost in the parliamentary election to BJP candidate Kiren Rijiju.
Tuki is also the longest serving legislator alongside Chowna Mein, with six consecutive terms.
Conversely, another veteran Congress leader, Tanga Byaling, lost to newcomer Nakap Nalo of the BJP by 698 votes in the Nacho assembly constituency in Upper Subansiri district.
The Congress could win only three seats – Sagalee, Pasighat West and Bogapani-Borduria. It had pitched 46 candidates in the assembly election. Former MP Ninong Ering won from Pasighat, while former speaker Wangling Lowandong won from Bogapani-Borduria.
Slain NPP candidate Tirong Aboh, who was assassinated by suspected NSCN militants on Tuesday, won by 1055 votes against BJP candidate Phawang Lowang in the Khonsa West assembly constituency in Tirap district.
The JD (U) has so far won an impressive six seats in the assembly election. In Itanagar, JD (U) candidate Techi Kaso has won against BJP hopeful Kipa Bapu by 302 votes.
Unlike in 2014, the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) has a lone candidate in Likabali, Kado Nyigyor, who defeated BJP candidate Tapak Lendo by 178 votes. Nyigyor was a sitting BJP MLA, but had been denied the party ticket for the 2019 election for unknown reasons.
Elsewhere, Kento Rina of the BJP won from the Nari-Koyu assembly constituency, defeating Tojir Kadu (INC) by 216 votes. Mutchu Mithi (NPP) defeated Laeta Umbrey (BJP) in Roing by nearly 400 votes. Former chief minister Gegong Apang (JD-S) lost to the BJP’s Alo Libang by a margin of 1609 votes.
The BJP’s Lekang candidate, Jummum Ete Deori, won by a huge margin of over 5000 votes against her closest competitor and state Congress chief Takam Sanjoy.
The BJP had fielded Deori after Chowna Mein’s exit from the Lekang assembly constituency.
In Mebo, the INC’s Lombo Tayeng won against his closest rival Dr Dangi Perme of the BJP.