The political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh has deepened with a senior minister accusing chief minister Jarbom Gamlin of using hired gunmen to abduct him, a charge strongly denied by the latter.
“Three to four people brandished small arms and shoved me inside a vehicle just outside my official residence in Itanagar and drove me to the chief minister's bungalow,” social welfare minister Chowna Mein told IANS.
“I asked the chief minister why he tried to kidnap me,” he said. The minister later lodged a complaint with the state police chief.
“I was so frightened that the same night, I with the help of former chief minister Mukut Mithi and Lok Sabha MP Takam Sanjay, fled Itanagar to Guwahati,” Mein said.
The chief minister, however, denied these allegations.
“These are wild allegations and nothing but an attempt to malign my political image,” Gamlin told IANS.
The state, known for its political instability and legislators known for their hop-skip-and-jump politics, are now putting pressure on New Delhi for a change by launching a blistering anti-Gamlin campaign - accusing him of nepotism.
There are 42 Congress legislators in the 60-member house.
“I would say people are unhappy with Gamlin's leadership and majority of the legislators and ministers are seeking a change,” Mein said.
“There is definitely no threat to my leadership and it is just a handful of people who are trying to create an artificial political crisis and questioning my chair,” the chief minister said.
But the anti-Gamlin lobby got a shot in the arm with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram over the weekend expressing concern over the deadlock in Arunachal Pradesh.
“I have told Gamlin that governance must be brought back to rails and it is unacceptable to find the Congress legislature party divided in Arunachal Pradesh,” the home minister told journalists.
For close to a month now, more than 20 Congress legislators, including ministers, are camping in New Delhi, trying to lobby for a change in leadership.
Gamlin took over as chief minister in May this year after Dorjee Khandu died in a helicopter crash.
“How can there be questions raised about my leadership as I took over charge just few months ago. I can assure you that there is no political crisis and everything is normal,” the chief minister said.