ITANAGAR, Nov 30: Condemning the BJP for giving party tickets to non-indigenous candidates for the upcoming panchayati raj election, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) on Monday cautioned the political parties “not to play with the sentiment of the state.”
In a press conference held here, AAPSU president Hawa Bagang warned the state government and the BJP that the union would launch a statewide agitation if the party tickets given to the non-indigenous persons are not withdrawn.
“For the indigenous rights’ protection, AAPSU is ready to go to any extent. I urge all my district students’ unions to gear up for a democratic movement. AAPSU would target Arunachal government machineries,” the AAPSU president warned, urging the BJP to withdraw the party tickets.
“BJP made a blunder. If they need peace, they should withdraw party tickets given to non-indigenous. AAPSU has sacrificed for indigenous people’s rights. It would do it again if the situation demands. This is not a warning but a reality,” said Bagang.
He said the BJP was undermining the scheduled tribe status of the people of Arunachal with regard to the panchayati raj institution by giving party tickets to non-indigenous candidates.
“On what basis has the BJP given party tickets to non-indigenous people, whereas in panchayat election, even for nomination, one needs scheduled tribe certificate?” Bagang said.
“Even the scheduled caste people do not have electoral rights when it comes to panchayati raj in Arunachal Pradesh. How come the BJP is giving party tickets to non-indigenous?” he questioned, adding that safeguarding the indigenous people’s interests should be the prime objective of every political party.
Bagang also questioned former AAPSU leaders-turned-legislators for keeping mum on the issue.
“You cannot undermine the indigenous people’s rights which are guaranteed in the Arunachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj Act, 1997, and also in Daying Ering committee recommendations, for your political benefits,” he added.
AAPSU vice president (protocol) Meje Taku stated, “This panchayati raj is only for the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh and moreover, our state is constitutionally recognized as a pure tribal state. Even in the assembly election, 59 seats are reserved for the indigenous people.”
Taku said the AAPSU has served two days’ ultimatum to the political parties and the state election authority to withdraw the party tickets given to non-indigenous candidates, failing which the AAPSU said it would launch a series of agitations.
“AAPSU will never compromise with the political parties whoever issued party tickets to non-indigenous candidates,” Taku stated, and appealed to the political parties to refrain from issuing party tickets to non-indigenous people.
The union also questioned the political leader who recommended two non-indigenous people for the party tickets from Changlang district.
Meanwhile, reacting to the Yobin Students’ Union, Food & Civil Supplies Minister Kamlung Mossang on Sunday clarified that it’s not as if the BJP and other political parties are giving party tickets to the Gorkha community in Vijoynagar for the first time.
“In Vijoynagar, since 1976 till today, this community has been actively participating in the panchayati raj elections. In 1976, Lalbil Gurung, an ex-serviceman, was elected from Majgaon as anchal samiti member representing the Gorkha community, and from Gandhigram, Apusimi Yobin was elected,” Mossang said.
He said that, since then, in every local body election they elect their own ASM and gram panchayat members, “and we continue the same tradition.”
It is learnt that in Vijoynagar, one Sujata Rai has been given the party ticket.