Congress king of all it surveys in Arunachal Pradesh

August 20th, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Itanagar, Aug 20 (IANS) The northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh is perhaps the only Indian state now where there is no opposition party legislator, with the ruling Congress government enjoying absolute control and authority.Until Monday, there was the lone opposition from R.T. Khunjuju, a legislator from the Bomdila constituency representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

But on Tuesday, Khunjuju joined the Congress party with assembly speaker Setong Sena issuing a formal notification, thus making the Congress party literally undisputed with the opposition out of Arunachal Pradesh’s political map.

“This shows the confidence of the legislators on Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu’s leadership and hence the state does not have any opposition worth the name,” said Takam Sanjay, a senior Congress leader.

In the last assembly elections in 2004, the Congress won 34 of the 60 seats, followed by independent candidates who won 13. The BJP won nine seats, while the Arunachal Congress (AC), a regional party, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) bagged two seats each.

The fortunes of the Congress party changed soon after Khandu became the chief minister after he toppled his predecessor Gegong Apang in April 2007.

“Soon after Khandu became chief minister eight BJP legislators joined the Congress party. All the independents, the AC and the NCP MLAs (legislators) too joined the Congress, thereby paving the way for an opposition free assembly in the state,” another senior Congress leader said.

Although the BJP has no representation in the state assembly now, the border state is represented in the Lok Sabha by two BJP MPs - Kiren Rijiju and Tapir Gao.

The lone Rajya Sabha seat was won by Congress candidate and former chief minister Mukut Mithi in 2007.

The state goes to the polls in 2009. “It is our commitment to the people of Arunachal Pradesh that our government would work for the state’s overall development and progress, besides improving the living conditions of the locals,” the chief minister said.

But despite the Congress party’s hegemony, Arunachal Pradesh is known for its hop-skip-and-jump politics with legislators switching parties and loyalties at the drop of their hats.

“Politics makes strange bedfellows may sound clich├ęd, but it goes well for a state like Arunachal Pradesh as anything could happen,” a former BJP legislator who switched loyalties by joining the Congress said.

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