Uncertainty harming Congress in Arunachal, hopes pinned on Sonia

Since Sonia's illness, Congress is facing one crisis after another, the latest being Arunachal Pradesh, where change in leadership is being sought by party MLAs

The political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, which has been lingering on for 4-5 months due to the absence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, is expected to end this week. She will be taking many decisions including one on the fate of Chief Minister Jarbom Gamlin, who is facing a major revolt from his MLAs.

Although she has succeeded in sorting out the differences between two senior-most Cabinet ministers--Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram--she will have to take tough decisions to resolve the Arunachal crisis, as party managers have so far not been able to decide on this matter. Arunachal Pradesh is a strategic state, facing frequent intrusion from the Chinese Army and the recent political instability in the Congress-ruled state would affect internal as well external security of the country unless the Congress president intervenes and decides on the leadership issue.

Gandhi, on Tuesday, reportedly met former chief minister Gegong Apang, his son and former Union minister Omak Apang, to find a way out.  "Sonia Gandhi is back to her normal routine after making her first public appearance and all hopes are pinned on her to resolve the crisis in Arunachal as leadership change in the party is the need of the hour," said a party source.

A cross-section of Congress leaders from the state expect PM Manmohan Singh and Gandhi to undertake damage control measures as this crisis can become bigger. The infighting within the ruling party in Arunachal Pradesh is an open secret now with the Congress legislators getting polarised.

Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee president and Public Works Department minister Nabam Tuki is leaving no stone unturned to seize the post of chief minister from Gamlin, who is trying his best to save his fort. Tuki is reportedly getting support from all sections of the party and party MPs are hopeful that he will be able to bring things under control due to his amiable character and hard work.

The crisis worsened in Arunachal with the kidnapping of an MLA near Arunachal CM's official bungalow on September 26, followed by kidnapping of PHED and social welfare minister Chowna Mein, who has accused Gamlin for his abduction. The indecisiveness of the Congress managers to resolve the crisis has resulted in complete breakdown of the law and order in the state.

Commenting on the law and order situation, MP Takam Sanjoy told MiD-DAY, "People hoped that Gamlin would follow in the footsteps of former CM Dorjee Khandu, but it was otherwise. It resulted in alienation of people and leaders."

The image of the Congress party is also suffering due to this lingering crisis and Governor J J Singh has asked the Arunachal home minister to submit a detailed report on the law and order situation in order to re-instill confidence among people.

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