oppn parties Congress Has No Time For Arunachal or Northeast

News Snippets

  • The government will make new IT rules to make it mandatory for platforms to provide traceability of content
  • PM Modi says India striving to move to evidence-based policy making by 2022
  • Patna High Court says that courts are clogged with cases against prohibition in the state
  • NCP-Congress say unanimity reached on government formation in Maharashtra, talks with Sena today
  • Surrogacy Bill referred to 23-member select committee by the Rajya Sabha
  • Government has asked the IITs to follow the quota system in hiring faculty
  • Gujarat police say self-styled godman Nithyanand has fled the country
  • Muslim parties are split over seeking review of the Ayodhya verdict
  • Indian skipper Virat Kohli says the pink ball could pose a lot of challenges due to its weight, hardness and colour
  • India to play its first pink-ball Test match against Bangladesh from Friday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata
  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
Perfect start for India in the first pink-ball Test. Bangladesh skittled out for 106 runs while India make 174 for 3 in reply. Ishant Sharma took a fiver
oppn parties
Congress Has No Time For Arunachal or Northeast

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
In a dramatic turn of events, all but one Congress MLA’s in Arunachal Pradesh have defected to the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA). That means the government installed by a Supreme Court order has fallen within months. Ironically, the only MLA who chose to remain with the Congress was Nabam Tuki, the chief minister before the original round of defections in December last year. Pema Khandu, the young CM who was installed in July, 2016 after the Supreme Court said that the governor J P Rajkhowa’s action in dismissing the earlier Nabam Tuki government was unconstitutional, led the defections. He repeated the earlier rebel charge that the party high command was unresponsive to them.

The Congress party has been so engrossed in Modi-bashing and has so focused its energies on mainland states that it has completely ignored its traditional bastions in the North-East. Except Sikkim, the Congress had held complete sway over the north-eastern states. It has now lost Assam to the BJP, Arunachal to defections and there are rumblings in all other states, with Manipur seemingly ready to go the Arunachal way. Of course the Congress will point fingers at the BJP and the newly constituted Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) for engineering unrest among its ranks. With the wily Himanta Biswa Sarma as convenor of NEDA, this could be a possibility. But the real problem lies with the party and its high command.

The northeastern states count for little in political mathematics. Together, they have just 25 Lok Sabha and 14 Rajya Sabha representatives. Hence, the marginalized Congress and its leaders do not have time for people’s representatives from these states. They are not concerned about footprints or sensitive territories or traditional bastions. They are more concerned about getting or retaining the numbers, either alone (which increasingly seems a distant possibility) or by striking strategic alliances (like the one in Bihar) to embarrass the NDA government in the Rajya Sabha. They do not realize that every MP counts and those from its traditions strongholds in the northeast are now worth their weights in gold.

Congress leaders from the northeast have increasingly reported that neither Sonia nor Rahul have the time to meet them to discuss their problems. They are not given appointments for months on end and even on the appointed day, are made to wait for hours before being summoned in for a brief audience where nothing fruitful is discussed. If they defect to other parties after this, it is not their fault. The Congress has also allowed the BJP to increase its footprint to the northeast by following such policies. This writer had argued in an earlier article that although governor Rajkhowa’s actions in Arunachal were unconstitutional, the original crisis was precipitated by the wrong policies of the Congress high command. The recent defections have proved this right.