Putting rest to all speculations, AICC announced the name of two candidates who would contest for Lok Sabha seat from Arunachal Pradesh. Former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki would be seen contesting from Arunachal West parliament constituency while former Home Minister L Wanglat will contest from Arunachal East.
Though it was expected that former Union minister Ninong Ering would be fielded from Arunachal East, he was dropped at the last moment. Ering is the sitting MP of the constituency.
Responding to the press, Tuki said, “I have not applied for party’s Lok Sabha candidate from West constituency. The decision to select me must have been taken at the highest political level. I welcome the decision made by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and will make my full effort to see him as the next Prime Minister of India.”
Meanwhile, from BJP Kiren Rijiju, the sitting MP is expected to contest against Tuki. Tuki will have to face tough competition from Rijiju, who has been contesting the seat since 2004. While in the 2009 General Elections, he lost for a margin of 1314 votes, he retained the seat in the 2014 elections with a majority of 43,738 votes. He defeated Takam Sanjoy of Indian National Congress (INC).
Rijiju has been controversial for his statements against Rohingyans. He had once said, “Rohingyas are illegal immigrants and stand to be deported”. He also stated that “India has absorbed the maximum number of refugees in the world so nobody should give India any lessons on how to deal with refugees”
A veteran leader, Tuki has served as Arunachal Chief Minister from 2011 until 2016 when his tenure came to an abrupt end with the imposition of President’s rule. He was first elected to assembly back in 1995.
Wanglat who has won assembly elections four times has also served as home, finance and civil supplies minister under various chief ministers.