NEW DELHI: The BJP on Sunday wrested both the Pakke-Kessang and Likabali Assembly seats from the Congress in the by-elections to these constituencies in Arunachal Pradesh.
With this, the 60-member state Assembly now has 49 MLAs from the saffron party, nine from the Peoples' Party of Arunachal (PPA), one Congress and one Independent legislator.
BR Waghe of the BJP won the Pakke-Kessang seat by a narrow margin of 475 votes, defeating his lone rival and former deputy chief minister, Kameng Dolo of the Congress.
While Waghe polled 3,517 votes, Dolo bagged 3,042, Joint Chief Electoral Officer D J Bhattacharjee said.
In the Likabali seat, BJP's Kardo Nyigyor won by a slender margin of 305 votes, defeating his nearest rival, Gumke Riba of the PPA.
While the BJP candidate polled 3,461 votes, the PPA nominee secured 3,156 votes in the constituency, which witnessed a multi-cornered contest.
While Congress candidate Modam Dini could secure only 362 votes, the lone Independent candidate, Sengo Taipodia, bagged 675 votes.
The constituency also saw 23 voters opting for NOTA, Bhattacharjee said.
Prime Minister Modi thanked the people of Likabali and Pakke Kesang in Arunachal Pradesh for reposing their faith in BJP.
"I thank the people of Likabali and Pakke Kesang in Arunachal Pradesh for reposing their faith in BJP. We derive immense strength from this affection and remain committed to transforming the Northeast," he said.
I thank the people of Likabali and Pakke Kesang in Arunachal Pradesh for reposing their faith in BJP. We derive immense strength from this affection and remain committed to transforming the Northeast. @BJP4Arunachal
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 24, 2017
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu today termed the BJP winning the by-election to the Pakke-Kessang and Likabali assembly seats as a perfect Christmas gift to the party.
BJP @BJP4India , under @AmitShah ,has won and scored electoral victory in bye election on both the seats in Arunachal Pradesh while Congress under Rahul Gandhi @OfficeOfRG contented with a double "moral" victory on,not one but two, seats.@KirenRijiju @PemaKhanduBJP @himantabiswa
— Dr Jitendra Singh (@DrJitendraSingh) December 24, 2017
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju congratulated the BJP members for the victory in the bypolls and tweeted:
कमल का कमाल। अरुणाचल प्रदेश के दोनों विधानसभा उपचुनाव जीत गया! @BJP4India won both Pakke-Kesang & Likabali Assembly Seats bye-election in Arunachal Pradesh. @narendramodi ji's vision, @AmitShah ji's guidance & @PemaKhanduBJP ji's performance won the heart of the people. pic.twitter.com/Hnm1xKtYMh
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) December 24, 2017
Over 68.5 per cent electors had cast their votes in the December 21 bypolls, with Pakke-Kessang recording an 86-per cent voter turnout and Likabali 51 per cent.
The Likabali seat had fallen vacant after then health and family welfare minister Jomde Kena passed away on September 4.
The Pakke-Kessang seat fell vacant after the Gauhati High Court declared the election of Dolo from the constituency in the March 15, 2014 polls null and void, following an election petition filed by BJP nominee and former minister Atum Welly.
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju congratulated the BJP members for the victory in the bypolls.