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Cong retains Arunachal

- Party gets 42 of 49 seats

Itanagar, May 17: The Congress in Arunachal Pradesh retained power with a comfortable majority, winning 31 of the 49 Assembly constituencies which went to the polls on April 9.

The Congress had secured 11 seats uncontested, including that of chief minister Nabam Tuki, before votes were cast, taking its tally up to 42.

While the BJP won 11 seats and the People’s Party of Arunachal secured five seats, the remaining two seats were claimed by Independents.

The BJP fared considerably better this time than it did in the 2009 elections when it won just three seats, and trailed the Trinamul Congress and the NCP, which secured five seats each and the PPA, which won four.

The lone remaining Trinamul MLA later joined the PPA. This time the NCP failed to register a single win while the Trinamul did not field any candidate. The Congress earned 49.5 per cent of the total votes, while the BJP polled 31 per cent followed by PPA (9 per cent), independent (4.9 per cent), NCP (3.8 per cent), first timer Naga Peoples’ Front (0.7 per cent) and the NOTA option gaining 1.1 per cent of the votes.

While former chief minister Jarbom Gamlin and Speaker Wanglin Lowangdong registered comfortable victories, some of the old guards of the Congress faced humiliating defeats.

Veteran leaders Setong Sena, Tako Dabi, Padi Richo and Nido Pavitra were ousted by debutants. Stalwart C.C. Singpho was also beaten by PPA working president Nikh Kamin.

Veteran Congressman Newlai Tingkhatra, who won the Kanubari seat, had passed away on May 7 at a Gurgaon hospital following a cardiac arrest.

Election office sources said the result would be countermanded and a repoll ordered.

Arunachal PCC general secretary T.C. Tok said, “Ups and downs in the Centre are inevitable and the Congress has already ruled for a decade. The fact that we have won the Assembly elections comprehensively shows that there is no Modi factor when it comes to local issues.”

A statement from BJP spokesperson Techi Necha said its tally would have been higher had simultaneous polls not been held.

The Congress Legislative Party will meet tomorrow evening to elect its leader.

Congress insiders also said Tuki, who returned to Itanagar after a 22-day stay in New Delhi on Wednesday, has done the groundwork needed to continue as the chief minister.

“A lot of the elected MLAs and party leaders called on him when he was in Delhi. Tuki himself met the party top brass and briefed them about Congress’ sure win in the Assembly polls and the plan he has in mind to run the next government. Given the debacle, even Tuki’s detractors will not try to pull a surprise, at least not immediately,” a party insider said.

Tuki said, “People have reposed their faith in the Congress-led state government by electing 42 party candidates, including 11 unopposed. This is an overwhelming majority and is the result of our development and pro-people activities in recent years.”

Tuki, who had won his Assembly seat from Sagalee unopposed, reiterated that with the election process complete, it was now time to work together in the interest of the state irrespective of party affiliations and offices.

While congratulating all the elected representatives, Tuki also asked other party men to gracefully accepted the verdict given by the people, where the Congress faltered.

The Congress lost one of two Lok Sabha seats, the results of which, was also declared along with the Assembly polls yesterday.

Additional reporting by our special correspondent in Guwahati