The 60 member Arunachal Pradesh gets a new Assembly today as the counting started this morning at the backdrop of the recent Khonsa violence which saw sitting legislator and NPP candidate of Khonsa West Assembly seat Tirong Aboh being killed by Naga militants.
The Congress won the election in 2014 but containing the state’s rich history of party swapping, all but one Congressmen joined a regional party called Peoples Party of Arunachal (PPA) which later got merged with the BJP with 43 year old Prema Khandu remaining the Chief Minister.
This time it is a three cornered contest between the BJP, Congress and Nationalist People Party (NPP) and if the exit polls are to be believed, the reign of Prema Khandu will be continued.
The party is expected to win both the seats of Lok Sabha also.
Earlier, a polling team on way to conduct re-poll in Arunachal Pradesh was allegedly attacked by around 500 masked men in Kurung Kumey district.
According to a report in The Arunachal Times, the polling team was on its way to Nampe where a re-poll was to take place on Tuesday, when they were attacked by people armed with sticks, machetes and rifles and the EVMs and other poll equipment were snatched.
While the state has 20 election districts, counting will take place in 24 counting halls on 23 May. Koloriang (Kurung Kumey), Itanagar (Papum Pare), Yingkiong (Upper Siang) and Longding have two counting halls, respectively.
Considering repeated instances of poll-related violence and fresh polls in various polling stations of Kurung Kumey and Kra Daadi districts, the district election officer (DEO) of Kurung Kumey has heightened security measures for counting day.
Kurung Kumey DEO Santosh Kumar Rai informed local media that the polling teams of Nampe under Koloriang assembly constituency and Gimba under Tali assembly constituency are safe and on their way to the district headquarters Koloriang.
Fresh polls were held in the said poll stations on 21 May for the third time.
The DEO further informed that five companies of security forces, including paramilitary forces have been deployed for counting day.
“It’s very tight and proper. No vehicles are allowed within 100 meters radius,” the DEO said.
He also informed that the general ground, which is two kilometers away from the counting centre, has been designated as the area for public gathering.
Inspector General of Police Apur Bitin, who is overseeing the security issues of Kurung Kumey district in the current polling, said that adequate security arrangements have been made to conduct peaceful counting of votes at the counting centre.
After the tragic assassination of sitting MLA and National People’s Party Khonsa West candidate, Tirong Aboh and his family members on Tuesday, the district administration has has amplified security measures in Khonsa town.
Sensing the sensitivity that has gripped the town following Aboh’s assassination, Tirap Deputy Commissioner PN Thungon disclosed that victory celebrations would be kept away from Khonsa town.
Similar restrictions have been applied in Longding headquarters, the DIPRO informed.