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Cong faces tough task to retain Meghalaya ; NDPP-BJP sounds confident in Nagaland

Meghalaya, Nagaland go to polls on Tuesday

GUWAHATI: With the assembly polls scheduled to take place in Meghalaya and Nagaland on Tuesday , the ruling Congress led by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma  is facing an uphill task to retain power in Meghalaya where the NPP and BJP have resorted to high-octane electioneering harping on the ‘failures’ of the incumbent Congress government while in Nagaland the ruling Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) is being challenged by the newly-formed alliance of NDPP and BJP.

In Meghalaya the BJP has chosen to go it alone by fielding 47 candidates among the total 60 Assembly seats even though the rival Congress has alleged covert ties between the BJP and formidable regional group, National People’s Party (NPP), the BJP’s ally in Manipur and New Delhi. The Congress has pointed  that as  at least two regional parties in Meghalaya, NPP and UDP, are part of the North East Democratic Alliance , they become natural allies of the BJP which has rejected the allegation stating that NEDA is a platform meant for development of the region.

In Nagaland the ruling Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) is being challenged by the newly-formed alliance of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and BJP which has snapped its 15-years-long ties with the NPF before deciding to go with NDPP led by former chief minister Neiphiu Rio. While the NDPP which is contesting 40 seats leaving rest 20 to the BJP, exudes confidence to form the next government in Nagaland.

Polling will take place for 59 seats each in Meghalaya and Nagaland. In Meghalaya, election has been countermanded in 43 Williamnagar LAC in the wake of the killing of NCP candidate Jonathone N Sangma in an IED blast during campaigning while in Nagaland, NDPP chief Neiphiu Rio has been declared elected unopposed from the Northern Angami-II constituency.

The poll results will be declared on March 3 along with that of Tripura, where elections were held on February 18 last.

The BJP’s high-voltage campaign  in Meghalaya has been led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi while numerous senior BJP leaders and Union ministers campaigned in an effort to unseat the  Congress which has ruled the state for two consecutive terms.

For Congress retaining Meghalaya  is of utmost importance given the saffron surge that is being witnessed in the region or late.  The Congress has deployed its full force in the electioneering to prevent the BJP from making inroads among voters in Meghalaya.  The AICC president Rahul Gandhi has addressed several election rallies and party workers’ meetings in Meghalaya to warn the voters against ‘divisive designs’ of the BJP. The Gandhi scion also attacked the NPP for being the front of the BJP in Meghalaya and to raise the alarm that voting for the NPP which has fielded candidates in all the seats, will amount to vote for the ‘communal’ BJP. The Congress has harped on the BJP-led central government’s attempt to win over Church bodies in Meghalaya by offering Rs 70 crore development grant to churches under Swadesh Darshan scheme, which was not accepted by Church bodies.

The BJP on the other hand has planked its electioneering on development promises and criticism of the corrupt and inefficient’ Congress regime.  It has been continued attacking the ruling Congress over lack of development and poor infrastructure in respect of surface communication, health, education and tourism etc. while promising to make Meghalaya a model state in the country. Besides, all the senior BJP leaders including the Prime Minister while hitting the campaign trail in Meghalaya has tried to project the party as a Christian-friendly one like any other party in the fray.

In Nagaland where the prolonged peace process to find a solution to the vexed Naga political problem has remained a burning issue in the society, the NDPP-BJP alliance is posing tough challenge to the ruling NPF.  The NPF has resorted to accusing it former ally  BJP of being  anti-Christian during the electioneering while the BJP-NDPP has flaunted their blueprint  to usher in an all-encompassing development in Nagaland besides promising put up the best possible effort to  facilitate final solution to Naga political problem that is hanging fire for a longtime.


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