Shillong: Former Meghalaya Assembly Speaker, and National People’s Party (NPP) candidate for the upcoming state assembly polls, Martin M. Danggo, is all set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after his supporters claimed he was “financially neglected” by the ruling NPP.
“I don’t have money now. “Whatever you all leaders decide, I will respect that decision,” Danggo told his supporters, who gathered at the Shillong Club before marching to the BJP’s office this afternoon to demand admission for their leader.
“I have spoken with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and explained to him why my leaders (supporters) are not happy with the party. My leaders were unhappy after they learnt that I was financially neglected by the party,” the five-time legislator said.
Reportedly, Danggo decided to switch over to the BJP following a meeting with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday in Guwahati in presence of veteran Meghalaya BJP legislator, Alexander Laloo Hek.
Elections to the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly are scheduled to be held on February 27. The counting of votes will be held on March 2.
BJP sources said Danggo would be formally inducted into the party on February 4.
Over 600 NPP supporters-led by NPP women’s wing leader, Pelcy Snaitang, joined the saffron party as they felt that the BJP was the only party that they knew that had actually delivered on all of their promises made from time to time across the country.
BJP leader Dipayan Chakraborty said Danggo’s sudden exit from the NPP was mainly due to several reasons.
“Everyone is realising that the NPP has completely failed to perform in the state. Everyone was expecting that Conrad Sangma would deliver, but he failed miserably.” Chakraborty said.
The march of his supporters, in the thousands, coming to the state capital in buses and SUVs from the remote Ranikor constituency in West Khasi Hills district bordering Bangladesh and going to the BJP’s office was a mere “show of strength.”
“The NPP didn’t give respect to our leader (Danggo), he was neglected. The Chief Minister (Conrad Sangma) didn’t even take his calls. Now from this morning he (Conrad Sangma) and his office bearers are calling frantically. We too are not receiving the calls,” Admiral Marak, one of the veteran supporters of Danggo, said.
The supporters also claimed that Danggo was given “just Rs 35 lakh by the NPP” to contest the general elections. “Is that much money enough to contest the general elections? So we have all decided to join the BJP,” another supporter added.
Danggo first won the assembly election seat on a People’s Democratic Movement ticket in 1998. He
later switched to the Congress in 2003 and remained in the party till he decided to switch midway to the NPP.
After winning the 2018 assembly elections on a Congress ticket, Danggo quit the assembly and contested on a NPP ticket, but in the byelection, he lost to Pius Marwein of the United Democratic Party.