The National People’s Party (NPP) recorded its maiden electoral win in Arunachal Pradesh. But the party’s celebration has been muted by the killing of its MLA Tirong Aboh and 10 others, including his 20-year-old son, on May 21.
Like “big brother” BJP, which took over the regional People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) government on December 2016, the NPP had acquired seven legislators of the PPA in July 2018. Two of them joined the Congress later.
“We performed well (in the Arunachal Pradesh as well as the Lok Sabha polls), but our win has been overshadowed by the tragedy,” Meghalaya CM and NPP president Conrad K. Sangma said.
The NPP had won four out of the 55 seats where results were declared. Counting for two more seats – Raga and Dumporijo – the party contested was not completed by 8 pm.
The party, he added, would meet soon to decide on a candidate to fill the vacuum left behind by Mr. Aboh, who won the Khonsa West posthumously.
“It will be difficult to find someone to take his place,” said Nima Sangey, spokesperson of NPP’s Arunachal Pradesh unit.
The party, he said, has decided not to disturb Mr Aboh’s bereaved wife and two wards during their mourning period. The last rites of the slain MLA, who had won the 2014 Assembly election as a PPA candidate, was performed at his native Dadaam village, about 40 km from Tirap district headquarters Khonsa, according to the Nocte tribal customs.
Mr Aboh was not the first victim of violence in the TCL region of southern Arunachal Pradesh. TCL expands to Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts where various factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) have been trying to establish their territorial supremacy in the region for more than three decades.
NSCN extremists had in December 2007 shot dead Wangsha Rajkumar, former Congress MP from Arunachal East constituency, at Deomali in Tirap district.
In May 2003, Congress MLA Lowangcha Wanglat was wanted under the Arunachal Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act for his alleged nexus with a faction of the NSCN. Five years later, former minister Tingpong Wangham was under the scanner after an NSCN member was arrested from his house in State capital Itanagar.
Before the 2009 Assembly election, the Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN allegedly threatened to make Congress candidate Newlai Tingkhatra’s life miserable if he did not pay Rs 3 crore. The outfit also allegedly abducted 16 Congress workers to drive home its point.
Mr Aboh, a local leader said, had been vocal against the NSCN factions after an NPP supporter was killed ahead of the April 11 election. His outspoken opposition to the outfits is believed to have cost him his life.