[ Taba Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, May 28: Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Takam Sanjoy on Tuesday said he has informally tendered his resignation to AICC president Rahul Gandhi, owning moral responsibility for the party’s debacle in the assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state.
Speaking to this daily, Sanjoy said he would soon send his formal resignation letter to the party high command.
“It is upto the party president whether to accept it or not. However, I will always remain a loyal Congress worker,” he said.
Speaking to the media for the first time after his party’s all-round debacle in the elections, Sanjoy dwelt on various factors which led to the Congress’ downfall in the state. Arunachal was once considered a Congress bastion, but the party only won four seats in the last assembly election and lost both the seats in the Lok Sabha election.
“First of all, this was an election which the BJP won with money,” claimed Sanjoy.
“Therefore, I term this victory a ‘money wave’ and not ‘Modi wave’ as the media and the BJP supporters are claiming.”
He, however, congratulated the BJP and Chief Minister Pema Khandu for winning the elections.
Sanjoy also expressed concern over the “financial implications the people may have to face,” owing to the huge involvement of money during the elections.
“The BJP promised the moon to the people and spent crores of rupees. I am wondering how they will fulfill those promises. The state’s coffer is dwindling, and contractors are not receiving payments. In the coming days, things will get more difficult as the government may even struggle to pay salaries to the employees,” Sanjoy claimed.
He said even though the Congress won just four seats in the state assembly election, the party would continue to play an important role as an opposition.
“This is an ideological battle and we will continue to fight against the BJP, both inside and outside the assembly. The Congress still occupies the minds of the people of the state,” Sanjoy said.
While admitting that his party is going through a difficult period, he said every political party goes through ups and downs.
“This is a temporary setback, and we will come back stronger. The BJP, too, went through a similar phase from 2004 till they won the election in 2014,” Sanjoy said.
Dismissing the allegation that inequitable ticket distribution cost the Congress some seats in the state, Sanjoy said: “Most of our strong candidates were lured by other parties. Candidates who were part of the Congress chose to fight from parties like the NPP and the JD (U). The BJP promised them that, being part of the NEDA, they would be taken care of by the ruling government. That’s why I am saying money played an important role in deciding the fate of the 2019 elections.”
The APCC president also cautioned the Sangh Parivar against interfering in the running of the affairs of the state.
“Today, the offices of the PM and the chief ministers across country are filled with RSS workers, and their role is very clear. In Arunachal Pradesh, the tribal society is known for its liberal and secular values. The RSS and the Sangh Parivar should not differentiate among people on the basis of caste, tribe and religion. They should be very careful. Their wrong activities can have severe repercussions,” Sanjoy said.
However, he expressed hope that the state’s BJP leaders would keep such forces away from interfering in the state’s matters.
“As far as I know, Chief Minister Pema Khandu is personally a secular man and he values secular ethos. However, if organizations from outside force him to compromise with secular values, we will have problems. I appeal to the BJP leaders and MLAs to strongly protest any move to undermine our secular values,” Sanjoy said.
On the question of AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s decision to tender his resignation, the APCC president expressed hope that Gandhi would continue to lead the party.
“Even though some people may not agree with his politics, everyone has to agree that in this election he fought with a lot of honesty and conviction. He is a leader who works with morality. For him, owning moral responsibility is more important than remaining the party chief. The Congress workers will accept whatever decision he takes,” Sanjoy said.
He added that the Congress party would conduct deep introspection and start afresh to reconnect with the people of Arunachal.
[ Taba Ajum ]