While most of the north-eastern states have gradually been spared of the ignominy of political instability, Arunachal still remained in the old dirty pool. The state is going to see yet another chief minister, the fourth in the current legislative assembly. Thanks to change of power at the Centre, political instability gripped the state since the 10-year-old rule of Congress came to an end in 2014. This despite the Nabam Tuki-led Congress winning an overwhelming majority in the state assembly elections at the same time. He is now the party’s lone MLA!

NE states have had a tendency of going with the party ruling at the Centre. Shifting loyalty by political leaders is rampant. However, some politically fragile states like Meghalaya has of late seen decline of the toppling games. Chief minister Mukul Sangma – if he survives his rest one-year term – will be the only second CM for a full five-year term! Left-ruled Tripura has not shown any sign of doing away with its fourth consecutive chief minister Manik Sarkar. Assam was ruled Tarun Gogoi-led Congress for 15 years before succumbing to the Modi wave bringing in the saffron flag in 2016.

‘Suspension’ of Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu, deputy chief minister Chowna Mein and five MLAs by their own People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) is yet another shocking toppling game the state has seen since ousting of the Tuki government followed by a President’s Rule last year. In fact, the trouble was in the making. The very foundation of the PPA government was not strong. PPA is not a party with strong base in the state, but just a vehicle for the rebel MLAs to oust the Congress government, without facing disqualification under the anti-defection act.

Being small and very less populated, states like Arunachal does not see people’s loyalty to any particular party, but to a particular politician. This is why it does not matter if the politician shifts his allegiance to another party. The voters don’t see it as an opportunistic move by the leader, as long as he continues to ‘satisfy’ them. More awareness about political ideology of regional and national parties and understanding the opportunism behind political instability will only deter such dirty political games in future.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on December 31, 2016)

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