As supporters claim ‘tiger is back’, Waii promises to deliver as lone opposition

[ Bengia Ajum ]

ITANAGAR, 21 Jun: After a gap of five years, former home minister and one of the state’s most powerful politicians, Kumar Waii, has come back to the state legislative Assembly.

Waii, who fought the election on a Congress ticket,defeated Doba Lamnio of the BJP. He is the lone opposition MLA representing the Congress in the Assembly after the NPP, NCP, PPA and independent MLAs decided to extend support to the Pema Khandu-led BJP government in the state.

As soon as he was declared the winner, his supporters took to social media and proclaimed that ‘Tiger is back’.

“People call me tiger because of my courage to speak the truth and also the kind of work I have done for them. I will try to stand up to their expectations,” said Waii.

He assured to raise issues concerning the people on the floor of the Assembly. “I will support the government on good subjects, but if I find anything wrong, I will raise the issue. I thank the people of the state for supporting me so much. I felt their love,seeing their celebration on social media and various other forums after I won the election. They are hoping that I will be their voice in the Assembly, and I will try my best to fulfil their hope,” he said.

While the politicians in the state usually find it hard to motivate themselves after losing an election, Waii said that defeat taught him a hard lesson and made him more determined to come back as an MLA.

“I learnt a lot from the defeat. Even after losing the election in 2019, I did not lose hope. People say politicians go into depression after losing an election,but I did not. In fact, in the last five years, I introspected on my 15-year tenure and learnt from the mistakes. The public of Bameng have supported me, and I assure them that this time I will give a better performance,” said Waii.

He alleged that in 2019 he was victimised for speaking the truth on the PRC issue.

“I was home minister and during a Cabinet meeting, it was proposed that PRC should be given to some section of non-APST people living in Changlang and Namsai. I had suggested in the Cabinet that it should not be brought forward and had warned that it might create trouble in Arunachal Pradesh. When the PRC bill was passed I was away in Assam for some work. Later on, Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mei alleged that I provoked the public, which is not true,” said Waii.

Hinting at the possibility of powerful politicians belonging to the Nyishi community, to which he belongs, being systematically targeted by the leaderships in the state, Waii said, “Powerful Nyishis fight among themselves in the election and are forced to sell properties to fight elections. The Nyishi community should remain alert to this tactic.”

In 2019, during an election rally, he had made certain comments about CM Khandu, which became controversial and many alleged that it was communal. Responding to it, Waii said that he believes it was not communal.

“I did not say anything against the entire community. I used the term to address the CM. We do use such terms in the Nyishi language to address people belonging to different clans and tribes, and there is nothing derogatory. Also, things said during the election campaigns should be forgotten after the election,” said Waii.

He also declared that he would not join the BJP. “I will not join the BJP. I have nothing against it, but I will work for the Congress. This aaya Ram, gaya Ram culture is not good. Also, I believe the BJP does not need me, as a single MLA joining them does not change anything for them,” said Waii.

He also claimed that the Congress would be revivedin Arunachal as the party is loved by the people of the state. “In 2029, the Congress will come back as a majority party in the state Assembly if there is no money culture. Everyone knows that this time also, if the BJP had not spent a huge amount of money during the elections, it would not have won even 20 seats,” he added.

Waii also expressed hope that the government would not discriminate against him as the opposition MLA. “I am the lone opposition MLA, and therefore I hope the government will give more funds to my Bameng Assembly constituency,” he said.