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Poll games begin in Meghalaya with two Independent MLAs joining BJP

BJP says many more will switch sides before the assembly polls in 2018.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2017 14:34 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
BJP supporters celebrate assembly elections results in Imphal, Manipur, where the BJP weaned away six MLAs from the ruling Congress ahead of polls.(AFP file)

The Bharatiya Janata Party made an entry to the Meghalaya assembly on Monday with two Independent legislators joining the saffron outfit ahead of next year’s election.

The party had no presence in the 60-member assembly of the northeastern state and the development is expected to boost its prospects ahead of polls in early 2018. A Congress-led coalition is in power in Meghalaya.

Justine Dkhar from Khliehriat constituency and Robinus Syngkon from Mowkaiaw formally joined the party in New Delhi in the presence of president Amit Shah and other senior leaders.

“This is just the beginning. Several other sitting MLAs, including those from the ruling party, are in talks with us and we expect few of them to join us within the next two months,” party in-charge for Meghalaya Nalin Kohli told the Hindustan Times.

Despite some state leaders leaving the party this year over differences on the beef-ban issue, the BJP is aiming to form the next government in Meghalaya, a Christian majority state.

“No proper development has taken place in Meghalaya under Congress rule. Support for the BJP is growing among voters and we hope the party will form the government next year,” Dkhar told HT over the phone from New Delhi.

Monday’s development is similar to the strategy the BJP adopted ahead of the assembly election in Assam last year and in Manipur earlier this year. The party is in power in both the states.

In Assam, senior Congress leader and a minister in the Tarun Gogoi government Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the saffron party ahead of polls. Nine other Congress MLAs followed his move.

Sarma now holds several important portfolios in the Sarbananda Sonowal-led coalition in Assam. He is also the convenor of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a regional alliance of parties opposed to Congress.

In Manipur, the BJP weaned away six MLAs from the ruling Congress government ahead of the polls. Three of them, including present chief minister N Biren Singh, won their seats while the others lost.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 14:34 IST