Arunachal Bribery Case: Is this all part of a ‘big game’ or does the illegalities really persist?
ITANAGAR, July 22, 2017: As the by-election to the 12 Pakke-Kessang Assembly constituency approaches in Arunachal Pradesh, a new twist has emerged as is expected in the world of politics, where anything can pop up at any given moment. Candidates to the left, candidates to the right – all prep up to give a tough show even as political drama is sure to co-exist side by side.
While the BJP has already announced its candidate to lock horns with former minister Atum Welly, who is also a former member of the BJP, the congress and the People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) are yet to announce their candidates. The by-election is scheduled to be held on July 29.
The seat had fallen vacant after former deputy chief minister and the then sitting MLA from Pakke-Kessang constituency, Kameng Dolo lost the membership of the state Assembly following a Supreme Court ruling in connection with an election petition filed against him former minister Atum Welly.
A TWIST BEFORE THE BIG DAY
On July 20, former BJP leader Atum Welly lodged a complaint with the Itanagar police against former BJP general secretary state unit, BR Waghe, who is also the BJP's official candidate vying in the by-election, accusing him of cheating him of Rs 14, 99,944 lakh in the name of party fund, way back on March 2014.
Prior to this, Welly had forwarded a letter to BJP national president Amit Shah on July 6 apprising him of the illegalities in the state's party unit while demanding for an internal disciplinary actions against Waghe.
Interestingly, his version of the story came days before the by-election though the incident took place almost two years back. And when asked about the appropriate timing to flash the alleged 'misdeed' of Waghe, Atum told media persons recently that he had no intention of winning back the BJP party ticket by implicating Wage rather he wanted to highlight the illegalities inside the party and demanded that the BJP initiate action against Wage for allegedly collecting illegal donations.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2014 ACCORDING TO ATUM WELLY?
Welly's version: Way back in 2014, he had sought for a BJP party ticket and was directed to meet Waghe as he (Waghe) was the General Secretary of the state unit BJP at the time and to his utter surprise, he was asked by waghe to make some donations towards the party fund, the amount of which was settled at Rs 30, 00, 000 (Thirty lakh). "Waghe said that the national party office of the BJP had directed him to make the donation. I denied to pay the donation and told him (Waghe) that I left the congress for the same reason (illegal donations) and accepted to join the BJP for its disciplinary and ideologies," Welly said.
Then apparently, Waghe minimised the amount to Rs 15 lakh and told Atum that if the donation is not made to his account, the party ticket will not be in his favour. "Accordingly, I thought that making donations to my own party is a goodwill gesture. But due to financial constraint I made a donation of Rs 14, 99,944/", Welly alleged in an FIR copy.
Furthermore, he claimed that he was asked to deposit the amount in his (Biyu Ram Waghe) personal account at Vijaya Bank in Itanagar, which was deposited through the current account of M/S MNW Enterprises from Naharlagun State Bank of India through RTGS on 15 March, 2014.
However, recently, when the bye-election to 12th Pakke-Kessang was notified, Welly enquired with office bearers if the BJP party required any donations towards party fund for the said election, he maintained that he was amazed to find out that no such donations are required which made him realised that he had been cheated by Waghe in 2014.
HUE AND CRY RAISED WITH PARTY LEADERS
When the matter was taken up with the BJP state president Tapir Gao on July 6, Welly said that the state unit did nothing in this regard, prompting him to lodged an FIR with the police on July 20 while also hoping that the BJP national president Amit Shah will take some action and constitute an internal enquiry into the matter.
When contacted, BJP state president Tapir Gao informed that such political tricks is unique in Arunachal Pradesh but maintained that these last minute accusations will not hamper the party's prospect and it will have an effect on the party's candidate in the upcoming by-election.
When asked whether any internal enquiry has been initiated, Tapir said "Now that the matter has been reported to the police, let the police do their work. It is not a question of the party's look-out, it's a question of police case."
BR WAGHE's REPLY
Attempts to contact Mr Waghe failed but new reports which appeared on the Arunachal Times quoted the BJP's official candidate of the bye-election to 12 Pakke-Kessang, Wage saying ""I have no authority to issue party ticket, so demanding money for party fund or donation does not arise."
While denying such allegations, Waghe termed the accusations as baseless and unfounded while clarifying that the said transaction and amount had nothing to do with party fund or donation, and was purely a personal dealing.
Waghe also questioned the timing in which the incident was made public. "If at all his allegation is true, why has he come up with it now? His intention is clear that he wants to tarnish my image so that he gets political advantage in the upcoming bye-election", Wage claimed, while saying that the allegation would not affect him.
Whether, these last minutes allegations and counter allegations are part of the big game, only the complainant and the defender will know better and like the saying goes – "Anything can happen in politics."