Apang's CM dream remains distant


Apang, who resigned as CM following a coup in the ruling Congress in 2007, hoped that this assembly-poll would bring him back to the centrestage of the state’s politics. But he had to bite the dust in his pocket-borough Tuting-Yingkiong. His son Omak Apang too lost. Both were Congress candidates.

Basu was the CM of West Bengal for 23 years and five months at a stretch. The senior Apang ruled Arunachal Pradesh for altogether 22 years and eight months, albeit with a break of four years from 1999 till 2003, when his bete noire Mukut Mithi – currently a Rajya Sabha member – was the Chief Minister.

This election also brought dismay to another heavyweight Congress family of the State – the Mithis. Mithi’s wife Pomaya also lost in her husband’s fiefdom Roing.
That Congress will easily retain power in Arunachal Pradesh was well expected, but what must have made Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu heave a sigh of relief are the reverses suffered by Apangs and Mithis – who have been the most influential political families in the state for decades and were keen to be back in control again. Khandu, himself won uncontested from Mukto.

Mamata’s fear
The Congress won 43 of the 60 seats. The NCP and Trinamool Congress fought against the Congress and won five seats each, while the BJP got two. Mamata Banerjee’s party may have opened first account beyond West Bengal, but the grapevine in Itanagar goes that she may lose her MLAs to the Congress, if she herself does not ask them to support Khandu’s Government.

Politics in the Himalayan State was fraught with defections and coups since 1999.
Apang had quit the Congress twice, first in 1996 to float Arunachal Congress, and then in 2003, when he helped the BJP taste power in the border state for the first time. He returned to the Congress in 2004, but was sidelined after the coup led by Khandu made him quit the CM’s office in 2007.

And the message the 2009 polls delivered should be very clear to both him and Mithi. It’s Khandu raj in Arunachal Pradesh, at least for now.

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