Meghalaya Chief Minister Campaigns Against Ally BJP In Manipur

Meghalaya Chief Minister Campaigns Against Ally BJP In Manipur

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma is on a four-day visit to Manipur. (File)


A Chief Minister of one state campaigning in another may not seem like a novel idea but the example of Meghalaya’s Conrad Sangma is a curious one.

The Meghalaya Chief Minister is on a four-day visit to Manipur to campaign against the BJP-led alliance of which his party, National Peoples’ Party (NPP), is a part of.

In 2017, the NPP contested only nine seats in which it won four seats – the best strike rate among all parties – and emerged as kingmaker. Without NPP’s support, the BJP would not have been able to form a coalition government.

This time the NPP is fielding 42 candidates for the 60-seat assembly, nearly five times more than last time. 19 of them are BJP leaders who switched sides after being denied tickets.

The BJP, however, has played down the NPP threat.

“The NPP is daydreaming about emerging as an alternative to BJP in Manipur. After this election, the NPP won’t exist here. They have no organisation base in Manipur, they only come during elections,” said Manipur BJP Vice President Chidananda Singh.

The BJP is contesting all 60 seats in the Manipur assembly elections. At least 10 former Congress leaders among 16 MLAs who joined the BJP have got tickets in Manipur.

Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joy Kumar Singh, who is from NPP, has in poll rallies been critical of the BJP, which leads the coalition government which Mr. Singh is part of.

Political watchers say Mr Sangma is working hard to improve his party’s performance in Manipur, linking it to his two other ambitions – first, the need to keep the national party status alive for the NPP and secondly, the needs to strengthen his hand in his home state where the Trinamool Congress is gaining ground.

Meanwhile, the Congress has already extended an olive branch to Mr Sangma’s NPP.

“NPP is ‘in principle’ with us. We worked together in Rajya Sabha polls,” said Hemochandra, Congress Working President in Manipur.

In 2017, Congress emerged as the single largest party by winning 28 seats but later several leaders quit the party. In a post-poll alliance with Naga People’s Front (NPF), National Peoples’ Party (NPP), the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Independent candidate, BJP was able to form the government in the state.

Manipur will vote in two phases on February 27 and March 3. The result will be declared on March 10.

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