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Fri, 10 Apr 2020

Northeast Today

CM Pema Khandu Reflects Innate Prodigy

CM Pema Khandu Reflects Innate Prodigy
July 04
13:48 2019

Arunachal Pradesh after graduating to parliamentary form of democracy in 1978 has seen ten chief ministers so far, present incumbent 39-year-old Pema Khandu, the last one holds the unique distinction of the youngest CM in India. He took oath of office and secrecy on 29th May 2019. Pradeep Kumar Behera narrates.


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First words


Though Pema Khandu served as APCC secretary (2005) and Tawang DCC president (2010), but his political career skyrocketed after the death of his father, 7th chief minister Dorjee Khandu in a helicopter tragedy on 30.04.11. However, being Dorjee’s eldest son, he was inducted as Water Resource Development and Tourism minister into Nabam Tuki Govt to become the youngest minister. He won the bye-election from Mukto unopposed on 30.06.11 as an INC candidate, re-elected unopposed from the same seat in 2014 and in 2019 by defeating Thupten Khunpen (INC) with 2619 vote margin.


His Political journey


There was no looking back since he took over as People’s Party of Arunachal chief minister on 21.12.16 but shifted loyalty to BJP on 31.12.16. Interestingly, this sensitive border state witnessed political instability during last five years but Khandu proved his political mettle. The Union Govt withdrew special category status (CCS) given to Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Nagaland in 1969, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand as Parliament was informed on 31.07.15.


The Centre used to pay 90% funds needed for any centrally-sponsored scheme to CCSs as against 60% to normal category states, while the remaining funds are. Arunachal being a resource poor state always depends on central grant but withdrawal of CCS had posed herculean challenges.


CM Khandu, a graduate from Hindu College (Delhi University), proved his ingenuity to adopt new financial reforms to hike revenue generation to Rs 1,253 crore in 2017-18 fiscal against Rs 900 crore in 2016-17, Rs 1,600 crore in 2018-19, but had set the target to cross Rs 2,000 crore in next fiscal year by streamlining initiatives. Though it was published in media but common masses may not understand its far reaching implications of such outstanding performance, never seen in the past. Moreover, his Govt held wide range discussions with civil society organizations for the first time to know their expectation to reflect in the state budget to earn the sobriquet “People’s Budget”.

Interestingly, his 2½-year Govt faced many challenges, particularly permanent residential certificate issue and Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 before 2019 elections but continued unperturbed. Like any election, 2019 simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly held on April 11 last, created a landmark to go down political history of the state.



Results in 2019


The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Khandu with state president Tapir Gao won spectacular victory by capturing 41 out of 60 seats, followed by Janata Dal (United) seven, National People’s Party five, Congress four, People’s Part of Arunachal one and two independents while both Lok Sabha seats were won with huge margins to prove his political mettle.

“Arunachal mein kammal ki phool khil gaya (party symbol lotus bloomed spectacularly) due to TsuNamo wave of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With NDA Govt at the Centre, the state will witness a sea change in future. No development could take place until and unless there is stable Govt. There will be no more dissident politics and we shall now only focus on development.

“However, asli kaam baki hey (real works are ahead of us) because of lot of expectations of the people,” Khandu has told media while assuring to work with commitment to take the state to newer height of progress. Arunachal people have to wait to witness Acchey din, a matter of time with Khandu’s conviction to turn state’s vast natural resources to encashable resources.

He motivated the masses with his inspiring vision through his effective leadership or else the BJP would not have got absolute majority. Though, I had named former CM, late Dorjee Khandu, as ‘Smiling Buddha’, but Khandu’s prodigy reminds me Allama Iqbal’s quote:  Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai. (Raise thyself to such heights that God himself may ask: What do you wish me to write your fate?)

National media highlighted cash recoveries of Rs. 9.92 crore during election model code of conduct (MCC).But Mizoram is an electoral  role model where votes are never exchanged for money due to mass awareness  brought by Young Mizo Association with the support of missionary groups on the principle ‘Cash for vote’ is mother of all corruptions. If it is a give and take process, the recipients have to go for introspection before raising any eyebrow against any party or leader!


Stints of state CMs


PK Thungon (13.08.1975 to 18.09.1979); Tomo Riba (47 days – 18.09.79 to 03-11.79); Gegong Apang (18.01.80 to 19.01.99); Mukut Mithi (19.01.99 to 03.08.03); Gegong Apang (03.08.03 to 09.04.07); Dorjee Khandu (09.04.07 to 3.04.11); Jarbom Gamlin (180 days – 05.05.11 to 03.10.11), President’s Rule (03.11.79 to 18.01.80), Nabam Tuki (01.11.11 to 13.07.16-16.07.16), President’s Rule (17.01.16 to 19.02.16), Kalikho Pul (19.02.16 to 03.03.16) & Pema Khandu (31.12.16-continuing). Apang holds the record of being the third longest serving CM of India with 22 years 8 months 5 days.


PK BeheraThe author is an ace electronic and print journalist based in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at [email protected]



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