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Congress wins 11 seats unopposed in Arunachal
Correspondent
 ITANAGAR, March 27 – The ruling Congress in Arunachal Pradesh has won 11 seats uncontested before the scheduled April 9 election to the 60-member State Assembly, thus scripting a record of sort amid calls for strengthening of democracy.

Out of 173 nominations found valid during scrutiny on March 24, altogether 15 papers were withdrawn with the last date for withdrawal of candidature being March 26, according to the office of Chief Electoral Officer, Arunachal Pradesh.

Interestingly, 10 out of 11 Assembly seats, won unopposed by the party in power, are in Arunachal West Parliamentary Constituency and just one seat (Mebo) in Arunachal East constituency.

Those who emerged triumphant without any contest are: Chief Minister Nabam Tuki from his home constituency Sagalee, former Deputy Chief Minister Kameng Dolo from Pakke-Kessang, sitting Rural Development Minister Tanga Byaling (Nacho) and Tourism Minister Pema Khandu (Mukto), Parliamentary Secretary Nabam Rebia (Doimukh), former Minister Lombo Tayeng (Mebo), sitting MLAs Phurpa Tsering (Dirang), Punji Mara (Taliha), Bamang Felix (Nyapin) and Takam Pario (Palin), and first-timer Mama Natung (Seppa West).

However, 155 candidates – including 49 of Congress, BJP’s 42, followed by 9 of NCP, 16 PPA, 11 NPF, 1 AAP and 16 Independents – remained in the fray for the remaining 49 seats of the 60-member Assembly.

In contrast, none of the candidates for parliamentary election had withdrawn their nominations. All 11 candidates for the two Lok Sabha seats in the State, including eight nominees for Arunachal West constituency and three for Arunachal East seat, remained in fray for the April 9 polls.

Surprisingly, the BJP lodged a complaint with the Election Commission alleging that Tade’s signature was forged.

State Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhusan Kumar said that he had forwarded the complaint to the EC for action.

Former Health and Family Welfare Minister Atun Welly who joined the BJP and filed nomination after being denied a Congress ticket from Pakke-Kessang constituency withdrew his nomination which cleared the decks for Congress nominee, Kameng Dolo, a former deputy chief minister, to win unopposed.

“Our landslide victory in the Assembly polls is a foregone conclusion,” Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee President Mukut Mithi said.

“The massive development, Sagalee in particular, led to unopposed election of so many candidates, including the CM,” he said.

State BJP president Tai Tagak, however, alleged that most party candidates were intimidated and threatened by the Congress ‘creating a situation never seen before in Indian democracy’.

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