Shillong, April 22
Predicting Meghalaya’s Congress-led government’s downfall, BJP poll strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma has shown confidence that his party will win the people’s mandate in the state in 2018.
Sarma, who is considered the chief architect of BJP’s success in Assam and Manipur, was optimistic that Chief Minister Mukul Sangma will lose in the next assembly elections. “My own assessment is that the people of Meghalaya will vote for (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and for development. We will have our own government,” he told journalists on Friday. “Our idea is to ensure that he and his brother (Sports and Youth Affairs minister Zenith M. Sangma lose in the elections. Do not be surprised if Sangma loses,” the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.
Indicating that the BJP is gearing up to contest in all the 60 assembly seats, Sarma said: “We recognise that Meghalaya has a very unpopular government. Meghalaya has not seen the kind of development which the people of the state deserve.”
“Therefore, in order to make Meghalaya a front-ranking state there should be a government which would be ready to implement Modi’s vision both in letter and spirit.” “So in order to translate Modi’s vision in Meghalaya, we need a vehicle which will be our own state government which will implement the Prime Minister’s programmes of development for Meghalaya,” Sarma noted.
Moreover, he informed that the party workers were working hard and the party organisation in the state was ready to take up challenges.
Election to the 60-member state assembly was scheduled to be held in February-March 2018. Sarma said the BJP would also soon come out with a chargesheet against Sangma’s government and “vision document” for Meghalaya. “The chargesheet will reflect a complete mismanagement of governance and corruptions and underdevelopment and also many personal complicity of the Congress leadership in Meghalaya,” the BJP leader said. While ruling out Sangma’s entry into the BJP-fold, Sarma said: “He (Sangma) will not be admitted into the BJP (although he had not applied to join).”
“Till he loses his own seat in the next election, none of us will meet him,” he added.
Asked if the BJP would ask Sangma to merge with the saffron party in case of a hung assembly in Meghalaya, Sarma said, “If at all that situation arises, we have our friends in Meghalaya who are known for anti-Congress principles for decades.”
“Why do we have to go with Sangma? Our idea is to ensure the way Sangma’s wife lost in the Tura Lok Sabha by-election, his brother and Sangma should also lose the elections.” “We will work 24-hours to ensure Sangma does not get elected as MLA at all and you should forget of him even forming the next government,” Sarma added.
When asked how the BJP could form government of its own in Meghalaya when the party did not even have a member in the assembly, Sarma said, “In Manipur too, we did not have any MLA; and from zero, today we are leading the government.”
Sarma said: “I think zero is a lucky figure for the party wherever we had zero we have formed the government. Because we were zero, that is why we didn’t have anti-incumbency and that is why people didn’t have any grievances with the BJP. This gives us more confidence that yes we will come to power in Meghalaya.”
Shillong, April 22