Assam chief minister and BJP’s ‘chief strategist’ Himanta Biswa Sarma will head the party’s campaign in Meghalaya and launch 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 be leading the election campaign in Meghalaya as he is the ‘tallest leader’ in the Northeast. He has brought development in Assam and people from all walks of life and leaders from different political parties also respect him,” Meghalaya BJP state president, Ernest Mawrie said.
“During my recent meeting with Assam CM in Guwahati, He has directed me to start the election campaign from South Tura and we are already preparing the ground work for it,” the BJP leader said.
Himanta Biswa Sarma’s choosing the South Tura assembly constituency for the launch of BJP’s election campaign is interesting as chief minister Conrad Sangma is representing the assembly constituency.
Conrad Sangma is also the national president of the National People’s Party (NPP), which is the main constituent of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government. BJP is also one of the seven constituents of the MDA.
Jailed BJP state vice president, Bernard Marak is a strong contender for the seat. On Monday, the Meghalaya High Court granted bail Marak in another case of POCSO filed against him by West Garo Hills Police but one case was registered against him and is still in judicial custody.
The Meghalaya government has slapped not less than 28 cases against him.
According to political observers, Marak’s popularity in the area has been a cause of worry for the Meghalaya chief minister. The BJP has been upset with the arrest and backed the jailed BJP leader.
Apart from Sarma, the BJP has lined up a star-studded list of campaigners beginning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union home minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda and a host of union cabinet ministers. Mawrie said all these leaders would campaign here during the elections.
While Nadda would campaign here before Christmas, the other leaders would campaign later next year. The BJP has decided to contest all the 60 seats this time, Mawrie added.
He said the main agenda of BJP’s election campaign would highlight the “various irregularities of the NPP-led government.” BJP is a constituent of the present MDA government.
“We have been raising the issues of corruption in MeECL, Saubhagya scheme, rice scam, illegal coal mining and transportation of coal. We will continue to highlight these issues and the party has started to prepare the party poll manifesto,” the BJP state president said.
Another BJP leader, who wished not to be quoted, told UNI that the party is preparing a list of constituencies where the party needs to drum up support at the grassroots level to boost the winning prospect.
“We have identified seats and regions where the BJP is facing challenges and our party leaders and supporters are working on that,” the BJP leader said.
In 2018, the BJP contested from 47 constituencies out of the 60. This time, Mawrie said, the BJP would be contesting from all 60 seats sans pre-poll alliance with any political party.