Itanagar/Guwahati, March 27: The victory of 11 Congress candidates in Arunachal Pradesh without a vote being cast is being viewed by the party as an “advance” vote for continuity.
The frontier state will have its Assembly and general elections on April 9.
The ruling Congress will now need another 20 seats for a simple majority in the 60-member House. In 2009, it had won 42 seats and in 2004, it got 34.
One of Arunachal PCC’s senior-most general secretaries, T.C. Tok, told The Telegraph that the number of party candidates who won uncontested could be a record of sorts.
Those who were declared uncontested in the 60-member House include incumbent chief minister Nabam Tuki whose cabinet had taken a gamble by recommending the dissolution of the Assembly so that Assembly and Lok Sabha polls could be held simultaneously.
“In 2009, we won three seats uncontested. This time we have won 11. It is a record. This shows that the people believe in the Congress’s vision and Tuki’s leadership. Those who withdrew were guided by the interest of the state. It is an advance vote for continuity,” Tok said this evening.
Among the winners are six from the Nyishi community to which Tuki belongs, two from Tagin, two from Monpa and one from Adi communities.
The development saw Tuki return to the Assembly for the fifth time in a row from Sagalee constituency after the lone Opposition candidate Nabam Tade of the BJP withdrew from the race. In all, three BJP candidates had withdrawn from the contest, Tok said.
Two former Congress ministers, Lombo Tayeng and Kameng Dolo, also re-entered unopposed to the House after a five-year gap, thanks to BJP candidates withdrawing their nominations, the office of the state chief electoral officer said. Arunachal PCC vice-president Lombo Tayeng had previously won consecutively on four occasions from the Mebo Assembly constituency since 1990 before losing to NCP’s Ralom Borang in the 2009 Assembly elections. Borang, who later defected to the ruling Congress, did not file his candidacy this time. Tayeng won uncontested after Muk Pertin of the BJP withdrew his nomination.
Another veteran, Kameng Dolo, also won after the withdrawal of BJP candidate and former Congressman Atum Welly who joined the state unit of the BJP after he was dropped from the Tuki cabinet in February along with Chowna Mein and Jarkar Gamlin. The move was initiated after Tuki got wind of growing dissident activities within the party. The eight other Congress candidates who won are tourism minister Pema Khandu and rural development minister Tanga Byaling from Mukto and Nacho constituencies, government spokesperson Nabam Rebia from Doimukh, Nyapin MLA Bamang Felix, Palin MLA Takam Pario and Dirang MLA Phurpa Tsering besides former Talhia MLA Punji Mara and Mama Natung from Seppa West.