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Cong retains Arunachal

Sweet victory: A worker prepares jalebis at the BJP headquarters in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

Itanagar, May 16: The Congress got two-third majority in Arunachal Pradesh Assembly election by winning 40 out of 60 seats.

The Arunchal Assembly polls were held along with the two Lok Sabha seats.

Even before a single vote was cast on April 9, the Congress in the state had already secured 11 Assembly seats uncontested, which brings its tally to 40.

However, the BJP and the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) did gain some ground as well with the two parties set to take the non-Congress figure in the state Assembly to double digits. By 8pm, the BJP had won five seats while the PPA had secured win in three seats. Counting trends indicate that the Congress is leading in five constituencies that will take its tally to 43. The BJP and PPA are currently together leading in five constituencies.

Amongst the winners this time, several giant killers have turned up with many making a debut in electoral politics to defeat veteran leaders. The most notable among them is Mutchu Mithi, son of Arunachal Pradesh PCC chief Mukut Mithi.

Mutchu emerged victorious over former MP and PPA’s chief ministerial candidate Laeta Umbrey by a margin of 2,185 votes. Riding on an anti-incumbency wave, the Congress patriarch’s son said after his victory that the Congress leadership “will not lapse into its ‘old habits’ and will continue to connect with the grassroots in its quest for all-round development of the constituency”.

The PPA had announced its chief ministerial candidate even though it chose to field only 16 contestants in the 60-seat Assembly.

The biggest upsets for the Congress came in the form of defeats for sitting MLAs Setong Sena, Tako Dabi, Padi Richo and C.C. Singpho — all veteran leaders of the Congress in Arunachal.

The biggest shock was delivered to Sena who had been elected to the Legislative Assembly consecutively since 1995. This time though he lost the Nampong seat by 203 votes to his former personal assistant Laisam Simai, who fought the election on a BJP ticket.

Simai is one of the few candidates who recently resigned from their government jobs to successfully contest the polls.

Among others like him is Kento Rina who gave up his post in the education department to defeat veteran Tako Dabi by 389 votes for Nari-Koyu seat. Rina is the father of prominent Arunachal journalist Tongam Rina.

PPA working president Nikh Kamin’s gamble to contest from Bordumsa-Diyum, the only Assembly constituency not reserved for a Scheduled Tribe candidate, paid dividends as he defeated C.C. Singpho by 1,328 votes.