FOR 19 years Gegong Apang was the monarch of all he surveyed in the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh. As India’s second longest serving chief minister after Jyoti Basu, Apang brooked no opposition to his supremacy but when the end came, he was abandoned by the very people who had helped him stay in power for as long as nearly two decades.
Ironically, the day (January 19) Apang lost the vote of confidence in the state assembly was the very date in 1980 when he had first taken over as one of the youngest chief ministers in the country. A rising star in the state’s political firmament then, Apang, by the time he was forced to leave the gaddi, had become extremely unpopular with his colleagues for his autocratic ways. As Tadar Taniang, a close colleague-turned-foe, says: “The long tenure in power had made Apang very dictatorial in all his dealings. He would insist on keeping everything to himself and his family. That attitude ultimately led to his downfall.”