What could be a first time contest in the state of Arunachal Pradesh since 2004 against state Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Lama Lobsang Gyatso, a 39-year-old monk has claimed that will take on the Chief Minister in the upcoming election, as reported by The Hindu.
An anti-dam activist, Gyatso will contest for the Mukto assembly constituency seat against the Chief Minister. “I will contest as an independent if no party gives me ticket for the Mukto seat. Fighting the powerful dam lobby is tough, and I think resisting them requires the authority of a lawmaker that spiritualism and activism cannot ensure,” Gyatso said in a statement on Tuesday.
Gyatso has been a key figure in the anti-dam movement in Tawang for nearly a decade and has decided to go against the current chief minister to protest against all planned hydropower projects in the region.
Khandu who has been heading a BJP government was of the 16 Congress contestants who got elected unopposed in 2014. Even in the 2011 byelection to the Mukto seat in Tawang district, Khandu had faced no rival.
Like his father, Khandu is in support of utilizing the Himalayan rivers of Arunachal Pradesh for hydel projects.
Khandu had mentioned to the industry captains at an event last year that the state had huge hydro-power potential but that getting clearance for projects was a major hindrance. “The issue must be discussed to sort out such hindrances,” he pointed out.
The State’s hydro-power policy was in accordance with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s plan to add 50,000 MW of hydro-power in India by 2017. Arunachal Pradesh’s role was of primary importance for most of the projects that were envisioned during that period.