Meghalaya is all set to witness an interesting and exciting poll battle with each political party claiming to secure an absolute majority, breaking the streak of coalition governments.
With hardly a month left for the state to go to polls on February 27, the board is set and, the pieces are already moving. Candidates’ lists have already been declared and the fight for a place in the legislative assembly is on.
On February 2, the BJP announced its list of 60 candidates for the upcoming elections, the first time in the political history of Meghalaya that the party is contesting all the assembly seats.
But the question remains: Will the BJP surpass its present two seats or will A L Hek and Sanbor Shullai continue to remain BJP’s only winning horses?
The recent entry of prominent names like former NPP leader M M Danggo and ex-legislator Samuel Sangma into the party fold can likely change the course of battle in several state constituencies.
Danggo, who was with Congress for a long time and with the NPP for a short period, quit the ruling National People’s Party to join the BJP on February 1, leaving the NPP in a state of shock and confusion.
Prior to this, he was named the NPP candidate from Ranikor, but a last-minute decision went in favour of the BJP at the cost of the NPP.
Danggo will be going up against sitting MLA Pius Marwein of the UDP. Interestingly, in 2018, Danggo won the Ranikor seat on a Congress ticket, but later that year, he vacated the seat to join the NPP, which had necessitated the by-poll in this constituency.
Unexpectedly, Danggo lost the by-poll to UDP’s Pius Marwein by a margin of 2896 votes. Now Danggo is looking for re-election on a BJP ticket.
He will also be going up against Congress’s Victorealness Syiemlieh and TMC’s Savio Phrangsngi Dkhar.
In Baghmara, it was almost certain that ex-legislator Samuel Sangma was going to be BJP’s candidate. His association with the BJP surfaced in November 2022 when he submitted a letter to assembly speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, dissociating himself from the UDP. Sangma was an associate member of the UDP. During this time, Sangma was accompanied by AL Hek – where he made his intention apparent but stated that he was not joining the BJP right away.
Sangma will be going up against NPP’s Satto R Marak and TMC’s Dr Saljangringrang R Marak
Bernard Marak, sitting MDC of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), is another BJP candidate who could just turn the tides in favour of the saffron party in Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma’s home turf – South Tura.
The battle for South Tura will be an interesting one as Marak is determined to put up a tough fight against the chief minister. He will also go up against former BJP legislator and UDP candidate John Leslee Sangma and former Congress leader and TMC candidate Richard Mrong Marak.