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Arunachal goes to polls today
ITANAGAR, OCT 12 (IANS/agencies):
Published on 12 Oct. 2009 11:26 PM IST
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The stage is set for Tuesday’s vote to elect a 60-member legislature in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh with the ruling Congress party emerging as the frontrunner. “Everything is in place for a free and fair poll,” an election official said. Polling personnel have already reached their respective destinations to conduct the elections, he added. Voting would be for just 57 seats with three candidates already declared elected unopposed. Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and two more ruling Congress members - sitting legislator Tsewang Dhondup from Tawang constituency and debutant Jambey Tashi from the Lumla seat - were declared elected unopposed. A total of 157 candidates are in the fray with the Congress fielding candidates in all the 60 seats. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has fielded 36 candidates and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 22, although the surprise element is the Trinamool Congress with 26 candidates in the fray. Of the 28 candidates fielded by the Trinamool Congress, five are former Congress party ministers and 10 are sitting legislators from the ruling party who were denied nominations this time. An estimated 750,000 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise and security arrangements have been intensified across 2,000 polling booths in the state. The fight for political supremacy would be between the ruling Congress party and a fractured opposition - two of them, the NCP and the Trinamool Congress, allies of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi. 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. NSCN (IM) trying to sabotage elections: NCP The Issac-Muivah faction of the NSCN, active in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh, is using every method to sabotage the Assembly elections in the state, the NCP alleged today. ‘’There is every chance of lapse in the election process if the security apparatus is not tightened in the state,’’ NCP state president Lowangcha Wanglat told a press conference here. Mr Wanglat was supposed to address a rally at Soha under Deomali constituency on October 10 but it had to be cancelled after receiving assassination threat from the outfit. ‘’The town commander of the NSCN (IM) called one of my relatives and threatened to kill me if I address the rally. After getting the ground reality, I was advised by the party leaders not to visit the village keeping in view the threat perceptions,’’ he said, adding he had apprised the matter to the Deputy Commissioner, the Superintendent of Police and the Assam Rifles authorities. They have assured him of providing adequate security, he added. Apprehending more incidents of intimidation, kidnapping, booth capturing and rigging by the ultras in the district, Mr Wanglat had already lodged complaints with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) here and the Election Commission of India in this regard. ‘’The election authorities have assured me to sensitise the entire area and to provide adequate security in the hyper-sensitive booths in both the districts,’’ he said, adding outfits like NDFB, Kachin Independent Army (KIA) and ULFA were operating in various parts of the state in their own capacity basically to extort money. ‘’We have requested the state government and the EC to be pro-active in all sensitive areas of the state and Army should be called in to seal the border points if we want to witness fair elections,’’ he averred, reported UNI.

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