The battle for the two Arunachal Pradesh Lok Sabha seats were closer than many expected. The competition was balanced on knife`s edge with some exit polls predicting BJP causing a major upset to Congress` hopes.
Congress sought solace from the exit polls that predicted it holding onto one, or in few cases, both the seats. BJP has been the fringe player in Arunachal politics, with the party holding three of the 60 seats in the state assembly, as compared to Congress` 55.
The North-eastern states experienced heated political battle and the poll fever further amplified in Arunachal in particular, as the Assembly elections happened to coincide with the Lok Sabha polls here.
Both the Lok Sabha seats from the state — Arunachal West and the Arunachal East—were wrested by the Congress party in 2009, but the May 16 results may write a new chapter in the history of Arunachal’s politics.
The General Elections have been held in the state since 1977. The Congress party emerged victorious then and continued to be the winning party in the 1980, 1984, 1989, and 1991 Lok Sabha elections. In the 1996 polls, an Independent candidate emerged victorious, followed by the Arunachal Congress in 1998. The Congress emerged trumps in 1999, but conceded the states’ Lok Sabha seats to the BJP in 2004. The electorate strength in the north-eastern state is 7,35,196.
In 2009, the Arunachal East seat was won by INC’s Nining Ering while the Arunachal West seat was represented by his party counterpart Takam Sanjoy.
Ering, who held the portfolio of Minister of State for Minority Affairs in the UPA-II government was in the eye of the storm during Baba Ramdev’s anti-corruption drive in 2011 when he allegedly called the Yoga guru a ‘bloody Indian dog.’ After much controversy the matter was sorted when Ering reportedly apologised for his outburst and Ramdev offered him a ‘rudraksha’ to calm his short-temper. Ering also raised the matter of Arunachal student Nido Taniam’s murder in the Parliament.
The Congress hoped to perform a clean sweep in the `Land of the Rising Sun`, but the exit polls only kept the party on tenterhooks.