oppn parties Congress Has No Time For Arunachal or Northeast

News Snippets

  • Former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar proposes an Indo-Pak ODI series to raise funds for fighting coronavirus
  • Maharashtra government says many Tablighi Jamaat members who attended the Markaz and returned have gone into hiding
  • West Bengal government identifies hotspots in Kolkata and the rest of the state, inclined to extend the lockdown in those places only
  • Prime Minister Modi holds a video conference with floor leaders of opposition parties, hints at extending the lockdown
  • UP seals hotspots and makes masks mandatory
  • Masks made compulsory in Mumbai, violators will be arrested
  • ICMR says an infected person can infect 406 people in 30 days without social distancing and lockdown
  • Stock markets make a smart recovery. Sensex up by record 2476 points on global cues
  • Schools, colleges and shopping malls likely to remain closed for a further period of one month, says empowered group of ministers
  • PM Modi tells BJP workers that India is in for a long battle against the coronavirus and there is no scope to feel tired or defeated
  • PM Modi asks ministers to focus on exports and new areas and sectors
  • PM Modi asks ministers to prepare business continuity plan post the lifting of the lockdown
  • Corona cases in India cross 4000 and the death toll stands at 124
  • The government decides to double the testing of corona suspects from 10000 now to 20000 in the next three days
  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19: 773 new cases and 32 deaths in the last 24 hours, reports the health ministry
oppn parties
Congress Has No Time For Arunachal or Northeast

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2016-09-19 17:38:24

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.