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Congress victory certain in Arunachal
Published on 2 Sep. 2009 12:55 AM IST
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The ruling Congress party in the mountainous frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh seems set for another easy electoral victory in the absence of any opposition worth its name. Elections to the 60-member legislature are scheduled for Oct 13 with counting of votes on Oct 22. “We are sure of winning the polls hands down. Our confidence of a massive electoral victory is primarily due to the overall development measures and economic improvement we have made during the past five years”, Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu told IANS. There is no opposition in the present 60-member house - the Congress has 45 members and enjoys the support of 13 independent legislators and two legislators from the Arunachal Congress (AC), a regional party. Of the 13 independents, six have applied for Congress membership. The political equations were different after the 2004 assembly elections with the Congress party winning 34 of the 60 seats, independents 13, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nine, and the Nationalist Congress Party and the AC two each. In subsequent years, the Congress managed to break the opposition - the nine BJP and the two NCP legislators joined the ruling party, while all the 13 independents and the two AC MLAs lent support to the Congress. The BJP’s attempt at getting a foothold in Arunachal Pradesh, a state bordering China, got a major setback with its former MP and party’s national secretary Kiren Rijiju last week joining the Congress party. In a state like Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP has really no relevance and hence for the overall betterment of the state and the region as a whole I thought the Congress party was the best option, Rijiju told IANS. The BJP was already in election mode, hoping to use Rijiju’s charisma to make an impact in the assembly elections. We know Rijiju betrayed the party at a very crucial juncture, but we are hopeful of revitalising the party and still managing to do well in the polls, Chandra Shekhar Rao, BJP’s in-charge in the northeast, said. After Rijiju left the party, the BJP in Arunachal Pradesh has simply become defunct with no leaders worth the name to fill that vacuum. We are simply not bothered whether there is opposition or no opposition. We shall go to the people seeking a mandate for development. Our poll slogan is nothing but development and peace, Takam Sanjay, Congress MP from Arunachal West constituency, said. An estimated 700,000 people are expected to exercise their franchise in a state of a little more than 100,000 people.

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