Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on February 21 mocked ally, National People’s Party, saying no one in India knows it and voting for its candidates in Manipur elections would be fruitless as the party has “no value”.
Sarma, who is the convener of the BJP-led anti-Congress alliance of regional parties – North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), of which the NPP is a constituent, said that ministers from the NPP were earlier chosen in the Manipur government because of the BJP.
“The NPP has no government at the Centre. Why would you go to the central government through the NPP? If you install a BJP government in Manipur, then you would be able to go directly….” he said while addressing an election rally at Moirang assembly constituency, where BJP candidate Mairembam Prithviraj Singh is locked in a triangular contest against Congress’ Pukhrem Sharatchandra Singh and NPP’s Thongam Shanti Singh.
Sarma, also a BJP’s top strategist in the Northeast region, said that after the Manipur election, the BJP would form the government on its own and there would be no place for the NPP in it.
Slamming the Congress for its policies and highlighting its nonexistence in the entire Northeast region, he said that the BJP has its own governments in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura and in Manipur, it would retain power for a second term.
The NPP, the dominant party of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, has been an ally of the BJP in both the Northeast states (Meghalaya and Manipur) since 2017, but in the current assembly elections, both the parties are contesting against each other.
The National People’s Party, which won four seats in the 2017 elections, has put up 38 candidates while the BJP fielded in all the 60 seats in the Manipur elections.
Meghalaya chief minister and NPP president Conrad Sangma, while addressing a series of election rallies in Manipur, claimed that his party would be the single largest party in the state. Manipur deputy chief minister and NPP leader Yumnam Joykumar Singh said that many BJP leaders and workers recently joined his party.
Polling to the 60-member assembly will take place in two phases on February 27 and March 5. Votes will be counted on March 10.