Litmus test in two key constituencies

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  • Published 12.10.09

Itanagar, Oct. 11: The Pasighat West and the Pakke Kesang constituencies brace for a high-voltage contest the outcome of which could push the losers into a virtual political oblivion as campaigning drew to a close this evening.

Billed as the clash of the titans, sitting MLA and Congress nominee Omak Apang, the son of former chief minister Gegong Apang, is crossing swords with state BJP president Tangor Tapak at Pasighat.

Indications are that despite representing the ruling Congress, Omak appears to have lost ground in the constituency.

Lack of adequate healthcare, roads and sanitation are some of the issues affecting the voters in the constituency.

Another factor that appeared to have gone against Omak is that his father is no longer the chief minister. On the other hand, Tapak, a practising physician with the state health services for several years before having joined politics, is known for his suave demeanour and clean image. Tapak was locked in an electoral battle with Gegong Apang’s wife and Omak’s mother, Yadap, in 1999 and defeated her.

A former health minister and seasoned politician, Tapak knows the tricks of the trade and with his winsome nature, is quite popular in the area. Though he was left licking his wounds after losing to Omak in 2004, he is banking on the anti-incumbency factor this time.

“What works in favour of Tapak is his readiness to mingle with the common people in his constituency. He has a lot of ideas. Omak could not develop the area in five years,” Oem Dai, a follower of Tapak, said.

Tapak said: “This will be a different ball game. It’s a do or die battle for me. I have spent all my energy and time to gain the support of the Pasighat West constituency. The people have grievances against the sitting MLA who hardly worked for their welfare.”

Like Pasighat, the underdeveloped Pakke Kesang constituency, 350km from here, is witnessing a keen contest between the Congress’s Atum Welly and the NCP’s Techi Hemu. It is an insider versus an outsider in this constituency.

It is more a battle of bruised ego for Hemu, the sitting Congress MLA who had switched over from the BJP to the ruling party in 2007.

Welly was elected from Seppa in 2004. Having been denied renomination, Hemu is contesting on an NCP ticket.