Itanagar: The BJP has comfortably crossed the 31-seat mark in Arunachal Pradesh to claim simple majority in the 60-member Assembly, while its rival Congress has bagged just four seats so far, the results made available by the Election Commission showed.
Counting of votes is still underway for five Assembly constituencies in the State. For the first time, the BJP will form government in the Himalayan State with the support of its own MLAs.
The saffron party has clinched 37 Assembly seats, including three unopposed, and is currently taking a lead in two constituencies.
The JD(U), which made its maiden entry into the electoral scene of Arunachal Pradesh, won seven seats so far, while another debutant National People’s Party (NPP) secured four seats.
The lone regional outfit, Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA), bagged a single seat, while two Independents clinched one seat each.
Among the prominent BJP winners are Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who won the election from the Mukto seat, bordering China, for the third time in a row, and his deputy Chowna Mein, who bagged the Chowkham constituency.
In Miao constituency, State Geology and Mining Minister and BJP nominee Kamlung Mossang beat Chatu Longai of the Congress by 3,856 votes to retain the seat.
Another state minister Honchun Ngandam, who was seeking re-election from Pongchau-Wakka seat, defeated his nearest rival, Thangkai Khusumchai of the Congress, by a margin of 3788 votes.
The Namsang seat, which witnessed a multi-cornered contest, voted in favour of PHE minister and BJP nominee Wangki Lowang for the third time in a row.
In the prestigious Tawang seat, BJP candidate Tsering Tashi trounced veteran Congress leader Thupten Tempa by a margin of 3,592 votes. The saffron party, however, faced major setbacks in two key constituencies. While Power Minister and BJP candidate Tamiyo Taga tasted defeat at the hands of newcomer Talem Taboh of the JD (U) in Rumgong, Assembly Speaker Tenzing Norbu Thongdok, who represented the Kalaktang constituency for two terms, failed to wrest the seat from JD(U) greenhorn Dorjee Wangdi Kharma.
State Home Minister Kumar Waii, who quit the BJP to join the NPP, lost the Bameng assembly seat to newbie Gorduk Pordung of the saffron party.
The Congress has retained three of the 42 seats it had won in 2014 – Sagalee seat, Mebo, Borduria-Bogapani – while wresting Pasighat West from the BJP.
Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Takam Sanjoy, however, faced defeat in Lekang, with newcomer Jummum Ete Deori of the BJP clinching the seat by 5493 votes. Deori is the daughter-in-law of former Rajya Sabha MP from the state, Omem Moyong Deori.
In the 2014 Assembly elections, the Congress had won 42 seats, BJP 11, PPA five and and two Independents won one seat each.