Assam chief and BJP strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma will lead the party’s campaign in Meghalaya and will start its campaign from Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma’s home turf in South Tura.
Elections to the 60-member Meghalaya Legislative Assembly are expected to be held in February 2023.
“He (Sarma) will lead the election campaign in Meghalaya as he is the ‘longest leader’ in the Northeast. He has brought progress in Assam and people from different sections of the society and leaders of different political parties have also another respects him,” Meghalaya BJP state president, Ernest Mawrie said.
“During my last meeting with the Assam CM in Guwahati, he directed me to start the election campaign in South Tura and we have already prepared the ground work,” said the BJP leader.
Himanta Biswa Sarma’s election to the South Tura assembly constituency at the start of BJP’s election campaign is interesting as Chief Minister Conrad Sangma represents the assembly constituency.
Conrad Sangma is also the national president of the National People’s Party (NPP), which is the main member of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government. BJP is also one of the seven members of MDA.
Jailed state BJP vice-president, Bernard Marak is contesting the seat in a big way. On Monday, the Meghalaya High Court granted bail to Marak in another POCSO case filed by the West Garo Hills Police but one case was registered against him while he is still in judicial custody.
The Meghalaya government has struck no less than 28 cases against him.
According to political observers, Marak’s popularity in the area has worried the Meghalaya chief. The BJP has expressed dismay at the arrest and has supported the jailed BJP leader.
Apart from Sarma, the BJP has lined up a star-studded list of campaigners led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda and a host of union cabinet ministers. Mawrie said that all these leaders will campaign here during the election.
While Nadda will campaign here before Christmas, other leaders will campaign late next year. The BJP has decided to contest all 60 seats this time, Mawrie added.
He said that the main agenda of the BJP’s election campaign will be to show “various misdeeds of the NPP-led government.” BJP is a member of the current MDA government.
“We have raised the issues of corruption in MeECL, Saubhagya scheme, rice scam, illegal coal mining and coal transportation. We will continue to highlight these issues and the party has started preparing the party poll programme,” said the BJP state president.
Another BJP leader, who did not wish to be quoted, told UNI that the party is preparing a list of constituencies where the party needs to drum up grassroots support to boost its chances of victory.
“We have identified seats and regions where BJP is facing challenges and our leaders and supporters are working on it,” said the BJP leader.
In 2018, BJP contested in 47 constituencies out of 60. This time, Mawrie said, BJP will contest in all 60 seats without any pre-poll alliance with any political party.