Nearly a fortnight after a dismal show in the assembly election, the Bharatiya Janata Party state president Ernest Mawrie has admitted that the people of Meghalaya are yet to accept the saffron party.
The BJP could retain only two seats – South Shillong and Pynthorumkhrah – despite fielding candidates in all 60 seats. “We respect the mandate of the people of the state. Though there was massive campaigning right from the prime minister, Home minister, national president, different union ministers, including Nitin Gadkari, and so on and so forth but still people have not accepted us (as a party). It means that we don’t have the mandate of the people of Meghalaya,” Mawrie said.
He, however, said he was grateful and thankful to the prime minister and Union Home minister for showing respect to the people of Meghalaya by attending the swearing-in ceremony of the council of ministers. “That is a strong message (that) though we won only two seats but we are with the people of Meghalaya,” he added.
Mawrie cited two reasons behind the party’s failure to perform better in the polls.
The first, he said, was some Whatsapp messages going viral before the day of polling (on February 25-26) about persecution of Christians in Assam and some other states in the country, which was just election propaganda, but the message that went to the people was that the BJP was behind the persecution of Christians.
Second, he said, was that people did not accept the BJP’s agenda of development. He said sitting MLAs claimed that it was they who had got various schemes for their respective constituencies whereas these had come directly from Delhi. “As the head of the party, I requested citizens of our state to vote for the BJP for development and peace. However, the people have not given their mandate and we are back to square one with two seats – so it means that they are yet to accept the BJP.”
The BJP state president chaired a meeting with all the candidates of the 59 constituencies on Saturday. “We have done introspection and we have done a post-mortem, discussed thoroughly and we heard the candidates and we have taken note and with that we will go ahead on how to strengthen the party,” he said.
Mawrie informed that the meeting also discussed the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and elections to the two autonomous district councils – KHADC and JHADC – in 2024.
“The meeting held yesterday (Saturday) was a fruitful one and everybody was satisfied and all points have been noted down and will be highlighting the same to the central leadership to give their comments and suggestions,” he said.
To another query, Mawrie said that the BJP had raised so many corruption issues against the MDA-I government but people still gave their mandate to the particular party.
“The best is to go to the public and ask them why they gave their mandate to the particular party (to) form the government in our state. That is the verdict of the people, not mine,” he said.
If the BJP would continue to raise its voice against corruption in the new government, Mawrie said, “You see now it is a different government so let us see… they have not even started functioning, but just announced the portfolios of ministers so let them perform, we will wait and watch.”