Arunachal chief minister in soup for ‘autocratic’ style

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS,

Itanagar : Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jarbom Gamlin’s fate hangs in the balance as many ruling Congress legislators seek a change in leadership due to his dictatorial attitude and several rights and students’ groups critisise him for his inefficiency.

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“The chief minister has done more harm than good to the state since he assumed office in May,” Bamang Tago, a well-known civil rights campaigner who heads the Arunachal Citizens Right, told IANS.

“During the last four months, the law and order situation has deteriorated, there has been a major communal divide in the state and the chief minister has come under the scanner for his role in shielding some of the corrupt ministers,” he added.

Gamlin took over as chief minister after Dorjee Khandu died in a helicopter crash.

According to Congress sources, at least 20-24 legislators, including some ministers, formally approached the party high command, demanding a change in leadership. The Congress has 42 legislators in the 60-member house.

“The people of Arunachal Pradesh are unhappy with the performance and the autocratic style of functioning of the chief minister and hence we are demanding a change in leadership,” a Congress leader said requesting not to be named.

“We have formally apprised the party leadership in New Delhi about the dissatisfaction over Gamlin’s style of functioning.”

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Bamang Felix said: “For the last few weeks, maybe half of the Congress legislators and ministers are outside the state lobbying for a change in leadership, most probably in New Delhi or other places.”

“Development works in the state have come to a halt and there is literally no government in place now,” he added.

The NCP has five legislators in the Arunachal assembly.

“Gamlin has been a total failure in the last four months. The Congress should resolve this leadership crisis once and for all and allow the state to function normally,” Felix said.

Some of the major complaints against the chief minister have been his style of functioning.

Allegations are that he is trying to divide the state on communal lines, ignoring development works, besides not maintaining a cordial relationship with the legislators and ministers in the day-to-day functioning of the government.

Gamlin’s performance has been under the scanner earlier as well – former chief minister Gegong Apang dropped him as home minister on charges of failing to execute his duties.

Gamlin was not immediately available for comments.

Said All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union president Takam Tapung: “There is indiscipline and lack of political management within the Congress, as a result of which the people of Arunachal Pradesh are suffering. This is indeed very sad.”

The state, known for its political instability and legislators known for their hop-skip-and-jump politics, are now putting pressure on New Delhi for a change by launching a blistering anti-Gamlin campaign – accusing him of nepotism.

“Arunachal Pradesh health minister and senior Congress leader Atum Welly aided the illegal appointment of his son and daughter based on fake documents,” Tago said.

“But the chief minister tried to shield the health minister and said the documents could have been planted to defame the government,” he said.

The case in point came to light following Right to Information (RTI) replies sought by a local activist.

“We want a stable government and cannot allow the state to suffer,” Felix said.

(Syed Zarir Hussain can be contacted at [email protected])