The ruling BJP government in Arunachal Pradesh, led by chief minister Pema Khandu, is set to return to power, while in nearby Sikkim, chief minister Pawan Chamling’s Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) is neck and neck with Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) to retain power for a sixth time.
Of the 32 seats , SDF has won nine and was leading in six, while SKM won 14 seats and was leading in three.
If Chamling retains Sikkim, he will become the longest serving chief minister in the country having served six terms already. In Arunachal Pradesh, till 10pm, BJP won 23 of the 60 assembly seats and was leading in 7.
The Janata Dal (United), led by former chief minister Gegong Apang, was a distant second having won six seats and leading in one more.
The Congress managed to win three seats.
In February, three persons were killed and many injured when protests broke out in Arunachal’s Itanagar against granting permanent citizenship certificates (PRC) to nearly 30,000 people from six communities.
Indigenous groups were of the view that if the six communities, who have been residing in Changlang and Namsai districts for several decades, are given PRC, it would adversely impact locals.
The scale of protests forced the saffron party to issue a statement stressing that PRC would never be taken up again.
The move seems to have worked in BJP’s favour in Arunachal Pradesh.
Meanwhile in Sikkim, Indra Hang Subba of the SKM won the lone Lok Sabha seat, by a margin of over 11,000 votes.
KT Gyaltsen, spokesperson for SDF, said, “The (assembly) battle has been very tough and right now it is not possible to say who would win.”
“We are sure to get a simple majority to form the government,” said Bikash Basnet the SKM spokesperson.
Opposition SKM candidates Aditya Golay (son of party president PS Golay), Dr MK Sharma, Nima Kunga Lepcha and Arun Upreti were leading in their respective constituencies — all four are being considered as potential candidates for the chief minister’s post in case PS Golay is barred from occupying the seat.
Golay did not contest as he faced a one-year jail sentence in a misappropriation case.
Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) failed to open its account in the state. “People did not accept us this time and we accept the verdict,” said Biraj Adhikari, spokesperson of HSP. Bhutia is set to lose from both constituencies he contested from.
Elections in Arunachal Pradesh were mired in violence. Two days ahead of counting on Tuesday, NPP candidate from Khonsa West seat in Tirap and 10 others were killed in an ambush by suspected National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) militants.
May 24, 2019 00:00 IST
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