With the election dates announced for Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura assemblies by the central election commission, the BJP has got down to finalising the list of candidates and giving touches to the poll strategy in the northeastern states.
To begin with, BJP’s national general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh is scheduled to visit Meghalaya on January 24, and meet the top brass, according to sources. Sources further said as the BJP has decided to go alone in the elections and not announce pre-polls with the National People’s Party led by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma, an extensive exercise has been done to shortlist probable candidates on all 60 seats.
Sources also stated the central election committee of the party is likely to meet on January 27 to finalise and announce candidates for the Nagaland polls.
According to senior leaders of the party in the state, there are 29 seats in Khasi hills, 24 seats in Garo hills and seven in Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. “All of the prominent contenders have a strong base in Garo hills, be it BJP or Conrad or Mukul Sangma. It has been decided that the BJP will contest solo in all 60 assembly constituencies. If there is a hung government or no party gets a clear majority, the option of post poll alliance is still open,” stated the source.
While the BJP will officially declare candidates on January 27, the BJP had long back announced a pre-poll alliance with the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), that is the dominant party of the United Democratic Alliance government in Nagaland, and said it will fight on 40 seats whereas the BJP will contest 20 seats.
In 2018, the alliance had the same seat sharing and BJP had won 12 out of 20 seats contested. However, Nagaland deputy chief minister Y Patton stressed the BJP is contesting more seats and strengthening the party and organisation and not playing second fiddle to chief minister Neiphiu Rio.
Later, the party managed the situation and assured the NDPP that the alliance will remain intact.
Elections to Nagaland and Meghalaya’s 60 seats each assembly are scheduled to take place on February 27 whereas in the 60-seat Tripura, a state that the party won for the first time in 2018, will go to polls on February 16.
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