Conrad Sangma, Meghalaya Chief Minister whose party National People’s Party (NPP) is the BJP’s key ally in northeast India, today tore into its coalition partner accusing it of not following “coalition dharma”.
“In the last 5 years…we faced a large number of challenges and hence we were unable to deliver on a large number of commitments that were made,” he said while addressing a rally in the second leg of his Manipur assembly elections campaign.
Mr Sangma claimed that at one point, his party MLAs had “had enough” and they quit the coalition. “It was only after the intervention of some leaders and myself that the coalition was saved,” he added.
Making his pitch for a strong pan-northeast party, he said that the region needs a party of its own and that the “seeds to throw out national parties” will be sown in Manipur.
Conrad Sangma had earlier said that his party’s candidates and workers were being subjected to targeted intimidation and abuse by several militant outfits in Manipur.
Conrad Sangma’s Party Requests Security Cover
In a press release, the NPP had provided details of constituencies where it claimed armed militants were campaigning for the BJP and threatening its candidates. The party had requested security cover for its candidates and demanded that arms be seized from all underground groups.
The NPP is contesting from 39 out of 60 assembly seats this time. In 2017, it had contested only nine seats, won four of them and emerged as kingmaker. Without NPP’s support, the BJP would not have been able to form a coalition government in the state. Election watchers have called the NPP a “dark horse” in the upcoming elections.
The BJP is contesting on all 60 seats. At least 10 former Congress leaders among 16 MLAs who joined the BJP have got tickets in Manipur.
At a poll rally in the state yesterday, BJP National President J.P Nadda had indicated in his public address that party MLAs will be led by Chief Minister N Biren Singh if the BJP wins and goes on to form the new government in the state.
Voting on the 60-member assembly will be conducted in two phases on February 28 and March 5. Votes will be counted on March 10.