Why BJP is upset with Meghalaya Assembly poll date

Why BJP is upset with Meghalaya Assembly poll date

The Election Commission’s (EC) announcement of Meghalaya Assembly poll on February 27 has been welcomed by most political parties in the state, barring the BJP.

The ruling alliance partner UDP and the opposition TMC and Congress welcomed the EC announcement and said they are ready for the poll battle.

Meghalaya BJP was, however, discountenanced at the long time span between the announcement of the date and the holding of the election and said it will give “ample opportunity to major parties to influence voters”.

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The EC has declared February 27 as the date of poll and March 2 for counting. The notification for the elections will be issued on January 31.

“We are upset that the election will be held almost a month and half later. This will give ample opportunity to the ruling alliance parties to influence the voters,” state BJP president Ernest Mawrie was quoted as saying by PTI.

“We worked hard for the past five years. Those who work in the last minute may also get the votes,” he said.

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The BJP is prepared to contest the poll and so far candidates from over 40 seats have approached the party for tickets, Mawrie claimed.

BJP is a part of the NPP-led ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance and has not entered any prepoll understanding with any political party.

“We are not in favour of any pre-poll alliance. We will contest on our own and we will comfortably win 10-15 seats,” he said.

Jemino Mawthoh, general secretary of United Democratic Party (UDP), welcomed the EC’s announcement and said “It gives us ample opportunity to prepare ourselves up for the poll.” He said that all the five MLAs, including PHE minister Renikton Tongkhar, who quit the Assembly during the day have joined the UDP.

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“We are upbeat with the formal joining of the MLAs today and we look forward to more leaders of different political parties to amalgamate with us in the days to come,” he added.

Congress too welcomed the announcement of the poll date, as did Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress which has emerged as the main opposition party of the northeastern state.

Meanwhile, Nagaland will also go to polls on February 27 along with Meghalaya.

As the Assembly election date was announced for Nagaland with no solution to the protracted Naga political issue in sight, civil society organisations and a section of political parties of the northeastern state expressed disappointment.

During campaigning for the 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP had coined the slogan ‘election for solution’. Several parties of the state have reminded the saffron party of it recently.

The Congress and NPF said though they are unhappy, will contest the polls.

The Naga People’s Front (NPF), which has four MLAs in the outgoing assembly, said the top priority of the party is an honourable solution to the Naga political issue.

“We will contest the election with our manifesto on good and corruption-free governance, besides working for an honourable and acceptable solution to the Naga political problem,” NPF secretary general Achumbemo Kikon said.

Civil society organisations said the Centre should prove its sincerity in solving the Naga political issue.

(With agency inputs)

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