Tura: With the Assembly elections just a few months away in Meghalaya, most of the political parties have started showcasing their might and support. While the TMC has taken the lead in campaigns across the Garo Hills, other parties are expected to toe the lines soon.
The BJP, too, is no exception and it will only be a matter of time before the party ropes in a coterie of crowd-pullers.
But, can the BJP actually win seats from Garo Hills in the upcoming elections? If yes, how many? While we have to wait for some time to get a clear answer, an analysis of the BJP’s position compared to the 2018 Assembly polls shows that the party did quite a few things right this time and is well prepared for the battle of ballots.
Prior to the 2018 elections, the BJP, though always part of the political firmament, began to take serious note of the political landscape in Meghalaya. Egged on by the visits of central leaders every month, BJP workers left no stone unturned to help the party get a stronger hold in the state.
The party, in 2018, was extremely confident of a good show and expected to win at least 5-6 seats from Garo Hills and many more from Khasi Hills. With campaigns by central party leaders, including then party president Amit Shah in Tikrikilla and PM Narendra Modi in Phulbari, the party expected that it would be able to woo voters and would also get a fillip in the run-up to the elections.
However, the result day came as a huge shock for the BJP. The party failed to win even a single seat from Garo Hills. It only managed to win two seats from the Khasi Hills region with AL Hek and Sanbor Shullai winning from their respective constituencies.
The party this time feels that it has learned its lessons and is in a better position to fight and win the 2023 polls. The entry of some of the MLAs from NPP, including Benedic Marak and FCA Sangma, along with Baghmara MLA in Garo Hills, will undoubtedly invigorate the party and its workers.
Further, the addition of former CEM of the GHADC Dipul Marak and former MDC Sukharam Sangma has seemingly boosted the morale of the party and its workers.
“BJP will do better in the 2023 election because we are more organized and ready to fight alone. In previous years, BJP worked with NPP but NPP backstabbed the BJP at different levels and the party has learnt many lessons. The NPP always played a major role during elections as NPP is a B Team of BJP, which will not be the case in the 2023 election,” BJP vice-president Bernard Marak said.
He added at the grassroots level, the BJP has become an option for many unlike other political parties in the state.
“We are a people-oriented party and our workers are very dedicated. BJP penetrated the strongholds of other political parties through good deeds and people-oriented services. Our workers are not profit-oriented but are service oriented and voluntarily dedicate their time and energy to do good for society. This has strengthened the party at the grassroots level,” added Marak.
He blamed the NPP, which in the previous election had a say in the allotment of seats. These, he felt, were done to ensure that the BJP does not win.
“People are aware of what the BJP is doing for the poor at the grassroots level. Other parties are mostly involved in shameless corruption and are greedy for money and power. Everyone knows that the funds are sanctioned by the BJP, which are siphoned off by other political parties,” claimed Marak.
The party this time feels that it has a chance of winning at least 4 seats or even more in Garo Hills. With the addition of the former NPP leaders, the BJP feels it can win many more seats this time.
“We are looking at 15 seats from Garo Hills where we have a chance of winning. We will put in all our efforts to ensure that we win,” added Bernard, who will be contesting from the South Tura constituency against chief minister Conrad Sangma.
While there obviously has been a perceptible increase in the BJP’s base in Garo Hills, time will only tell if that will turn into votes in the coming elections. The BJP is leaving no stone unturned to make an impact in the state in the run-up to the 2023 Assembly polls.
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