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Meghalaya polls: BJP candidates fight over CM’s face

Elections are scheduled on February 27 and the counting would be held on March 2 to form the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly.

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Shillong: Meghalaya BJP president, Ernest Mawrie on Tuesday said the issue of the Chief Ministerial candidate would be decided by the newly elected legislators of the party.

Mawrie was reacting to one veteran BJP leader and five-time Meghalaya legislator, Alexander Laloo Hek’s statement who had projected himself as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate if the BJP is voted to power in Meghalaya.

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Elections are scheduled on February 27 and the counting would be held on March 2 to form the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly.

“Usually, the BJP does not declare any chief ministerial candidate except for the Prime Ministerial post. The parliamentary board of the state BJP (elected legislators) will sit and elect the parliamentary leader and BJP believes in collective leadership,” Mawrie told UNI.

“It was Hek’s personal statement and there is no infighting within BJP. Let the election result be declared on March 2 and let the elected legislators choose their parliamentary leader together with the central leadership,” the BJP president said.

Similarly, another senior BJP leader and cabinet minister said, “Since the BJP is a national party the party high command would take a decision on this issue (Chief Ministerial candidate).”

The BJP had two legislators (Hek and Shullai) in the outgoing 10th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. 

The party has pinned hopes of increasing this number.

“We are hoping to get as many as 15 seats out of the 60 assembly seats. People have accepted the BJP after seeing the developmental activities initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Mawrie said.

BJP insiders are however confident that a new government would be installed only with the support of the saffron party in the state.

“As of today we are expecting to win in eight assembly seats and we are hopeful to get double digits and this time our objective is very clear that we should lead the government in Meghalaya,” the BJP insider said on condition of anonymity.

Therefore, If BJP lives up to this optimistic estimate, then Hek’s statement is significant and there would be a keen battle for the Chief Ministerial berth within the BJP.

For the Chief Minister’s chair, the fight would be between Hek, together with Shullai and former assembly speaker Martin Danggo if they win. 

BJP candidate Himalaya Muktan Shangpliang, who joined the saffron party recently after crossing over from the TMC is the dark horse. 

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