A day after quitting the BJP, former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang (70) told The Indian Express that he had been feeling “suffocated” in the party. Apang, who served as CM for 23 years, wrote in his resignation letter to BJP president Amit Shah and state unit president Tapir Gao that the party was now a “platform to seek power”.
“I was suffocating in the party. I wanted some freedom — freedom to serve people according to their wishes. So I came out. I am relieved now. I was unhappy, otherwise, why would I have quit,” Apang told The Indian Express over the phone. Asked about his future course of action, he said, “How would I have left without a plan. You will hear some news soon.”
A former Congress stalwart, Apang joined the BJP in 2014.
Gao confirmed Apang’s departure. He said, “A party cannot lock doors on anyone. He had joined and now (he has) left.”
In his resignation letter, Apang wrote, “I am disappointed to see that the present day BJP is no longer following the principles of Late Shri Vajpayee ji. The party is now a platform to seek power, it serves a leadership which hates decentralization of democratic decision making…”
He said that Vajpayee had told him that it was better to be in a “splendid political isolation rather than get into power by compromising on political ideologies”. “The rank and file of the BJP in most of the Northeastern states has no role in any democratic exercise within their state units. They have now become habitual of uploading and downloading decisions from the NAMO app.”
Apang alleged in his letter that the Narendra Modi-led central government and BJP were “not addressing the real issues”.
“From issues like grass-root delivery of government schemes to matters like Naga peace talks, Chakma-Hajong issue, amendments of citizenship bill, telecommunications and real time digital connectivity to peaceful and cordial relation with neighbours like Bangladesh, Myanmar and China, both the party and the Modi Sarkar are not addressing the real issues,” he wrote.
Apang wrote that the BJP had not got the people’s mandate in 2014 in the state but “used every dirty trick of the trade” to make Kalikho Pul the CM. In August 2016, Pul committed suicide after the Supreme Court reinstated a dismissed Congress government in Arunachal and dismissed the one led by him.
“Despite an adverse SC ruling, a BJP Government was reinstalled. Neither a proper investigation was done in Mr Pul’s suicide nor the present BJP leadership thought of morality and ethics by installing many more BJP Governments in northeast,” Apang wrote in his letter.
He alleged that there were “undemocratic practices” by the party. “The decision to put Shri Pema Khandu’s name as CM before the election is neither the norm or the tradition that a cadre-based party like the BJP had followed,” he wrote. He also alleged that BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who is in charge of the Northeast, “did not allow many members and office bearers to place their views before the party cadre” in the state executive meeting of the party in November 2018 at Pasighat.