Arunachal Pradesh : Mayhem AfterMysterious Death
The mysterious death of former Arunachal CM Kalikho Pul leaves many questions answered. The demand for a CBI enquiry is growing in the State
Till postmortem and viscera reports are made public, people would have assumed that he committed suicide. In his death, he is immortalised as a hero. But, former Chief Mminister Kalikho Pul seems to have taken many secrets to his grave.
Not all is the answer.
First-thing-first, immediate reaction upon hearing his suicide in the morning hours of August 9 was heart wrenching. The people, who thronged the CM’s official bungalow, which he was yet to vacate, weren’t his political supporters but were admirers of Pul’s leadership that came to define his four month short tenure. It was the small time vegetable vendors, school children, the sick and poor who turned into a flash-mob that ransacked few official bungalows of cabinet ministers. It was these hapless people, in a fit of anger and disgust, that burnt the cheap coffin made of plywood which was being taken inside. His fans and admirers felt that the people’s Chief Minister, as he came to be known after the Supreme Court turned the clock back to December 2015 and unseated Pul, deserved a much better and befitting coffin.
Demand for CBI inquiry
Even as the supporters of Pul are continuously demanding CBI inquiry into the mysterious death of their beloved leader, the Arunachal Pradesh government on August 9 ordered a magisterial inquiry. “The state government has ordered an inquiry to investigate whether there is any foul play in his death,” Chief Minister Pema Khandu told reporters in Itanagar. Asked about the suicide note left behind by Pul as claimed by his supporters, the CM said he had no knowledge of it but directed the police not to leave any stone unturned in the investigation process.
That Tuesday morning, emotions ran very high, atmosphere was charged up and political environment was precariously perched. All these developments were unfolding despite majority of his legislators deserting him; his camp for greener pastures under the leadership of a new Chief Minister.
Unprecedented love and support showered on Pul itself is a case study on leadership. At a time when political establishment is treated as unscrupulous and pariah, he managed to win hearts of lakhs with his untiring effort to reach out to every constituent in the society. Working for 19-20 hours was a norm; getting into the nuts and bolts of the issues and concerns came naturally to his style of functioning; in his leadership, speed of decision making were refreshing. And many more of his personal traits set him apart from rest of the Legislators who felt that Pul’s style of functioning and management was making them irrelevant. That’s where, I think, he lost the political battle.
The political narratives of Arunachal Pradesh are hinged upon trivet of clan, matrimonial alliance and money and in that order in Assembly segment level. But, it would be in reverse order, with money as numero uno factor, once game is played at the state level. Essentially, the politics in the region has hardly any space for ideologies or bare minimum work ethics. All these are by design; I repeat, it’s not by default.
“Shocked to hear of untimely demise of promising young leader Kalikho Pul whose contributions shall always be remembered.”
To me, this design killed 47 year old former Chief Minister Kalikho Pul. He tried changing the rules of the game. In four months of his leadership, he re-defined the political and administrative landscape so much so that vast majority of public wanted him to live another day to fight another battle not just for him but for the people who looked up to him as an inspiration, not merely as a catalyst for change.
Coming back to the political secrets, Pul hasn’t taken all with him. He has left behind four bundles of “60 pager notes” called 'Mere Vichaar', each of these pages have been penned and signed by him over the last few weeks of his life. The notes have been sealed by the investigating authority and people are waiting with bated breath. But it is said, there are few more sets of these notes with certain people. Those who have seen it, say Pul has mentioned many of the events that happened behind the scenes leading upto the judgement passed by the five
member constitutional bench on July 13, 2016.
Many witnesses of these notes written by the former Chief Minister vouch that once it is made public, there would be turmoil—political at the state level but judiciary would be rocked at the highest level.
With his sudden demise, hope has died. His rise to the pinnacle from being an orphan to
becoming Chief Minister was an inspiring tale for many
youngsters. Therefore, his
suicide was an act of betrayal to the large majority of people who hero-worshipped him, pinned their hopes on him, his ideas, thoughts and affirmative actions. To all, he was the modern day Robinhood who went out of his way to dole out medical aids to the sick and the poor with a personal touch. Therefore, many view his suicide not just as a sad event but it angered his admirers, though many are clueless about the motive.
(The writer is senior journalist of Arunachal Pradesh)