Itanagar, Apr 1: The `hurly burly’ of Indian electioneering are completely missing in the poll bound Arunachal Pradesh which borders China, Myanmar and Bhutan. There are no rallies, life size cut out of candidates. The frontier state goes to polls simultaneously for 60 member assembly and two parliamentary seats on April 11. However, in run up to the polls which is just a weeks away the electioneering looks a quiet affair unlike any other mainland Indian cities which are characterised by loud sounds of microphone, innumerable public rallies and painted walls.
“In Arunachal Pradesh, community is the most important factor in voting. That is why you see no high pitched electioneering. It’s all mouth to mouth community which is mostly an indoor affair,” Pradip Kumar Behera, Editor of local English daily, who have been covering elections since 1978 in frontier state told UNI. Notably, till date there were no anthropological studies on number of tribes which exists in the state.A local survey by a university put the number to 145 tribes which also has various sub tribes.
Arunachal Pradesh was established as a state in India on February 20, 1987. It was initially a Union Territory which was carved out of Assam. Arunachal Pradesh was known as the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) during British India and the Republic of India until 1972.
But it doesn’t mean that low key electioneering results in low turnout on poll day. The state recorded an impressive 72 per cent voter turnout in 2014 elections despite the fact that many areas in the state are still not connected by roads. “Arunachal has the highest foot march polling stations in India. ECI ensures that it reaches the remotest part of the state to provide facility to its citizens to exercise their voting rights,” Lod Takkar, State Nodal Officer, CEO office told UNI.
There are more than 518 'foot march' polling stations in the state where elections officials have to trek for days to reach the place.A reminder of the British rule, Auxiliary Labour Corps (ALCs) or porters are still indispensable in Arunachal Pradesh, especially during elections, for carrying poll materials and transporting EVMs to remote polling stations in the mountainous state.
Trekking the rugged and almost inaccessible terrains of the state, ALCs serve as a bridge between the government and the people and make polling possible by carrying poll materials defying all adversaries. (UNI)