New Delhi: Arunachal Pradesh voted to elect legislators in its 60-member Legislative Assembly on April 11 and simultaneously for two Lok Sabha seats in the General elections, as part of the first phase.
Arunachal Pradesh, a BJP turf with Pema Khandu as its chief minister witnessed a triangular fight to power between the Bhartiya Janata Party, the Congress and the National People’s Party (NPA).
Regardless of a triangular fight, the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) also fielded its candidates for the first time in the state for Assembly polls. It fielded former MLA Tani Loffa from the Seppa West Assembly constituency, and four newcomers from the Chayan Tajo, Aalo West, Bordumsa-Dyun and Bomdila constituency.
The ruling BJP has 48 MLAs in the House, while the Congress and the NPA have five MLAs each. There are also two independent MLAs in the Assembly.
The BJP is said to have locked in the formula of 60+2, i.e, aiming to put all its MLAs in the 60-seat Assembly and also win from the two Lok Sabha seats.
But the Bhartiya Janata Party, who fielded 60 candidates, will have an edge since it will win three seats uncontested.
In another set of firsts for Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s bastion Mukto Assembly constituency saw a contest first time in 20 years- with Thupten Kunphen (57), a former abbot of Gaden Rabgyel Lling Monastery and Buddist monk Lobsang Gyatso in the running for the post. (Barring the 1995 elections, the seat, dominated by the Monpa community, had been loyal to the Khandu family, which had set the ball rolling for hydroelectric power projects in the district over the years.)
The Congress fielded Thupten Kunphen from the seat this time, while the Janata Dal (Secular) nominated 39-year-old Lama Lobsang Gyatso.
In 2014 Assembly elections, the Congress had won 42 seats in the 60-seats House, whereas the BJP got only 11. The NPA had got its five MLAs inside and two seats went to independent candidates.
Arunachal Pradesh registered an impressive voter turnout of 71.08 per cent of its total 7.94 lakh voters on April 11. Voters exercised their franchise for both the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
The state of Arunachal Pradesh has a total electorate of 7,94,162, out of which 4,01,601 are women- and as many as 11 polling stations were set up exclusively for women in the state, say election commission sources. For the first time, VVPAT machines were used in the election along with EVMs.
A toll-free number was also released ‘1950’ to handle queries or complaints during polling for Arunachal Pradesh Assembly elections or Lok Sabha elections in the state.
One of the key issues in Arunachal Pradesh this election season is the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill – which the BJP is vociferously vouching for. The ruling party in the state has avowed to make illegal immigrants (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan) eligible for Indian citizenship.
The Congress party meanwhile said that they will scrap the Bill that has already been passed in the Lok Sabha- if voted to power.
The results of the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly elections will be declared on May 23, along with the results of Lok Sabha polls 2019.
The term of the Arunachal Pradesh Assemble ends of June 1, 2019.