Itanagar, May 30: Congress strongman Kameng Dolo who returned to the Arunachal Pradesh legislative Assembly for the seventh time after a five-year gap was today sworn-in as the pro-tem Speaker to administer oath to the newly elected MLAs.
The development comes 12 days after Nabam Tuki was sworn-in as the eighth chief minister of the state on May 18.
The first session of the state Assembly will be held on June 2.
A member since the first state Assembly in 1978, Dolo’s run was unexpectedly interrupted in 2009 when he lost his home constituency of Chayangtajo in East Kameng district to Trinamul candidate Karya Bagang.
The defeat came as a shock to many because not only was Bagang a complete outsider to electoral politics but also because Dolo, who had won the seat six times consecutively, seemed virtually impossible to beat. However, his detractors saw the 2009 result as fulfilment of a prophecy that Dolo would ultimately face defeat at the hands of a woman.
Not willing to take any chances, Dolo then moved base away from his bastion and successfully began to lobby for the Pakke-Kessang seat in the same district even though the Congress already had an MLA from the constituency, former health minister Atum Welly.
Dolo, who was also the deputy chief minister during Gegong Apang’s second term, became a front-runner for the Congress ticket after Welly was sacked from the ministry by Tuki in February this year following reports of dissidence by senior party leaders. The final nail in the coffin came when Welly was denied a ticket to contest the April 9 election by the Arunachal PCC, which went with Dolo.
Incidentally, Dolo returned to the state Assembly uncontested after Welly withdrew his nomination ahead of the elections. Welly has since denied the action and registered a complaint with the Election Commission that his nomination was withdrawn through a forged signature.
From being the lone Opposition in the first Assembly to being appointed the pro-tem Speaker now, Dolo has donned almost all hats possible in state politics except for that of the top post. The general feeling in the state is that Dolo may have been appointed Speaker lest he gets too ambitious, especially considering the fact that in terms of seniority he outranks all the other CLP leaders, including Tuki and former chief minister Jarbom Gamlin.
In the meantime, as to when the new government will be formed still remains unclear with Tuki keeping his cards close to his chest and officials in the CMO mum on the matter. Senior Congress members, too, are tight-lipped on the issue.