ITANAGAR: The two Lok Sabha seats of Arunachal Pradesh, going to polls on April 11, are considered Congress strongholds, but tough contests are likely in both, with the BJP putting up a stiff challenge, analysts said.
The two LS constituencies of the state--Arunachal East and Arunachal West--have been traditional bastions of the Congress party which has won each of the seats seven times since 1977, when the state voted in a general election for the first time.
The Arunachal East seat, with 27 assembly segments, is likely to witness a tough fight between Tapir Gao of the BJP and James Lowangcha Wanglat of the Congress, according to analysts.
Two new faces - Bandey Mili of the Janata Dal (Secular) and Mongol Yomso of the People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) - along with independent candidate C C Singpho have also joined the race.
The BJP had emerged successful from Arunachal East in 2004, while Independent candidates won the seat in 1977 and 1996.
In the 2009 and 2014 elections, Congress nominee Ninong Ering had won the seat. Tapir Gao had finished second in 2014 Lok Sabha polls when he lost by 12,478 votes.
Gao, who is also the state BJP president, had wrested the constituency from Wangcha Rajkumar of the Congress in 2004 by a margin of 44,994 votes.
Five candidates are trying their luck in Arunachal East seat, while seven are in the fray for Arunachal West.
Sitting BJP MP and Union minister Kiren Rijiju is pitted against Congress candidate and former chief minister Nabam Tuki and Janata Dal (Secular) nominee Jarjum Ete for Arunachal West.
Others in the fray are Khoda Apik of the National Peoples' Party (NPP), Subu Kechi of the PPA, Jomin Nyokir of the All India Forward Bloc and Independent candidate Rumak Jomoh.
Rijiju had won the seat in 2014, defeating his nearest Congress rival Takam Sanjoy by a margin of 41,738 votes.
Arunachal will have simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls on April 11.