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Congress retains Arunachal Pradesh

October 11, 2004 21:19 IST

Winning 34 seats in the 60-member Arunachal Pradesh assembly, the Congress has retained the reins of administration amidst indications that the state's longest-serving chief minister, Gegong Apang, would get the top post again.

Although the Congress did not face any real challenge from any its principal challenger Bharatiya Janata Party, the saffron party, which did not have a foothold in the state, opened its account winning nine seats.

Independents, mostly rebel Congressmen, emerged as the second largest group with 13 seats while the Nationalist Congress Party and Arunachal Congress picked up two seats apiece after the results to 56 seats were declared on Monday.

The new leader of the Congress Legislature Party is likely to be elected on October 13 with Apang, who won from his traditional Tuting-Yingkiong seat defeating the BJP's Ojing Komboh, emerging as the front-runner.

It was in August 2003 that Apang toppled the Mukut Mithi-led Congress government by splitting the party to create Congress (D), which ultimately merged with the BJP thus giving a high-profile to the saffron party in the state.

Apang, however, rejoined the Congress soon after the National Democratic Alliance was voted out of power at the Centre. He had quit the party and formed the Arunachal Congress party in 1996.

Before that, he was the chief minister for a record 19 years since 1980. It was during his tenure that Arunachal Pradesh became a state in 1987.

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