The BJP has finally made public the list of the candidates to contest the ensuing election to the 60-member house of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. Although all the BJP candidates have filed their nomination papers and are ready to go for the official campaign in their respective constituencies; the BJP will this time around face an uphill task because of two reasons.
The first factor which will be a major challenge for the BJP to win many seats is the fact that the party’s decision to delay in announcing the list of its candidates to contest in all the 60 seats of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
In fact the party is not only the last of all the party to make public the names of its candidates; but the delay which compelled the party to publicize the list after the election was announced is going to hit the party hard.
In the constituencies where there are two or more contenders for the party ticket; by the time they know that they have been selected, it is already time for them to prepare their papers for filling the nomination.
Candidates of other parties who have made their list public; well ahead of time already have ample time to plan their election strategies and visit their constituency. Because the BJP candidates started late; it will be a challenging task for them to beat the other candidates who have ran before them in the race to win their respective seat to the house.
The BJP leadership thought that they played their cards well when they decide to delay making public the list of candidates to contest on the party ticket; the idea was, it will prevent those who were denied tickets from contesting the election. But as predicted in this column earlier, the first candidate to rebel, quitted the party and joined another party to contest the election was none other than the sister of the Shibun Lyngdoh, president of the BJP in Meghalaya.
Violet Lyngdoh, the lone female member in the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council joined the Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party and filed her nomination papers as candidate of the party from the coal-rich Khliehriat constituency. Violet also claimed that she had work for the party and nurtured the constituency and with her; more than 30 booth level and mandal units in the constituency were also dissolved and joined the NPP en-mass.
But Khliehriat is not the only constituency, where the party suffered a major jolt; because the seat was allotted to former MLA Sanbor Shullai who only recently joined the party, the other contender who had joined the party much earlier was denied the party ticket.
Manas Choudhuri, former Cabinet Minister in the government of Meghalaya claimed that he had built the grass root party worker units in the constituency and feel humiliated that the ticker was given to the new comer and decided to quit the party and re-joined the Congress and filed his nomination to contest as the party’s candidate from the prestigious Shillong South constituency.
In another prestigious constituency, the delay to decide on the party ticket has put the candidate Marki Mulieh member of Jaintia Hills Autonomus District Council in pressure because it is not going to be easy for him to cover the more than fifty polling stations of Jowai constituency in a short span of time.
The other contender to the party ticket was none other than his own uncle Sing Mulieh, former cabinet minister; but even if unlike other contenders the senior Mulieh may not join the fray and contest the election on another party’s ticker, but his support to the his nephew is crucial for Marki.
Similarly; the BJP suffered a pre-poll revolt in the different constituencies in the Garo Hills where party workers resigned en-mass just because their leader were denied party ticket to contest the next election. Most of the BJP contenders resigned from the party and contest as independent candidates.
Senior BJP leader and party’s state vice president Edmund K. Sangma filed his nomination as independent candidate from Raksamgre constituency against Jonathan Rabha the BJP nominee. Another rebel BJP candidate is Chiang D. Shira who resigned from the party and filed his nomination as independent candidate for North Tura constituency.
Besides Sangma and Shira another rebel candidate is Rahinath Barchung who is contesting against the BJP official nominee K.C. Boro for Tikrikilla constituency.
The party leadership need to work extra hard if they are to win more than five seats in the coming election to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. In the prevailing situation it looks like it will be a challenge and it need more than the Modi magic for the BJP to cross the single digit mark in the next house.
Mohrmen is a freelance writer and environment activist based in Jowai, Meghalaya. He can be reached at email@example.com