Despite 13 leaders and 12 legislators defecting to NPP, BJP sweeps Arunachal Pradesh: Here’s why

New Delhi: Arunachal Pradesh, a state which has been a bastion of the Congress party for years has been swept by the Modi wave, now known as Modi undercurrent. BJP won both Lok Sabha seats in 2019 Lok Sabha election despite the setback it suffered because of 13 leader and 12 legislators defecting to National People’s Party.

It may be noted that state general secretary Jarpum Gamlin, state home minister Kumar Waii and tourism minister Jarkar Gamlin were offended by the fact that they were not granted party tickets for the Assembly elections following which they joined NPP including other sitting MLAs.

BJP’s Tapir Gao won from Arunachal East constituency with a margin of over 52,000 votes. INC’s Lowangcha Wanglat trailed behind. From Arunachal West constituency, Kiren Rijiju won with a margin of over 1 lakh votes with Nabam Tuki from Congress trailing behind. In 2014 Lok Sabha election, INC won from Arunachal East while BJP bagged the Arunachal West seat.

The North Eastern state went to polls on April 11 in the first phase of the 2019 general elections. However, 19 polling booths across eight districts from the state went to fresh polling after reports of attacks and booth capturing surfaced. Six booths from the Arunachal East seat and 13 from the Arunachal West constituency had re-polls.

The repolling also faced several allegations of electoral malpractices resulting in another repoll in two of the booths which had already gone for re-polling on May 21. The 60 State Legislative Assembly seats also went to polls with the two Lok Sabha seats.

Arunachal East has traditionally been a Congress bastion. BJP state president Tapir Gao contested against James Lowangcha Wanglat who had defected from the BJP earlier this year to contest on a Congress ticket. BJP stalwart and Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju contested to get re-elected from the Arunachal West constituency.

Rijiju faced former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki of the Congress. The PPA fielded Subu Kechi while the JDS candidate was Jarjum Ete who had defected from the Congress after being denied a ticket by the party. The state had an estimate of 66 per cent voter turnout this year.

The saffron party for the first time is set to form a government with the support of its own MLAs in the state. The party has already won 33 seats and is leading in 3 of the 57 Assembly seats where elections were held on April 11. In the 60-member Assembly, the BJP only needed to cross the 31-mark to claim a simple majority.

While the BJP had formed its government in the state twice before – first in 2003 and then in 2016 after MLAs of other parties defected to the saffron party, this will be the first time for BJP to form the government with the support of its own MLAs.

BJP formed its first government in the frontier state in 2003 when MLAs of Arunachal Congress switched to its side. The second time it formed the government in 2016 was because CM Pema Khandu and other MLAs, who won in 2014 as People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) candidates, first switched to Congress and then to BJP in 2016.

One of the main reason for the clean sweep in the state could be the fact that in the past five years, the BJP government has worked to improve connectivity and infrastructure in the state. From Bhupen Hazarika Setu to Bogibeel bridge, several infrastructural projects have been dedicated to the people of Arunachal which could have contributed to voters swinging in BJP’s favour. A weak opposition is also partly a reason why even Arunachal was swept up by the TsuNamo.

 

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