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Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the BJP could win the upcoming Assembly elections in Meghalaya “standing alone” as there was a “positive groundswell of support” in favour of the party in the state. The polls in this hill state are scheduled to be held on February 27. The results will be announced on March 3, along with the poll outcomes in Tripura and Nagaland.
“We see a very good positive groundswell of support in favour of the BJP. We can win standing alone,” the BJP leader told reporters after releasing the party’s “vision document” for the state. The BJP has fielded candidates for 47 of the 60 seats in the state and it has no pre-poll alliances with any of the regional parties.
The minister said the party was not averse to having post-poll alliance here. We are not saying we do not want to have an association with anyone. We can have a post poll alliance. We have never been closing our doors to like-minded parties,” she said.
The BJP leader said the party had built alliances in the North East for a development agenda, too, without mentioning that it has a tie-up with the state’s National Peoples Party and the United Democratic Party in the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Sitharaman, who is Defence minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, refused to answer questions on defence issues, saying that she was in the state as a party worker.
She criticised the Congress for its “failure” to address the aspirations of the people and usher in development though it ruled both at the Centre and in the state for a substantial part of the 10 years that it has been in power in Meghalaya.
“A change is necessary when you find a situation where basic infrastructure such as drinking water and road has not reached the people,” she said.
Stating that India under the NDA has been a power surplus country, the Union minister expressed regret that there were many areas in Meghalaya without electricity connections while those that were connected did not enjoy 24/7 power.
For the development of NE region, she said, “The Act East (policy) is showing up in different ways – we have built the Kaladan road, the Chittagong port access road.”
She said her government was looking at improving connectivity in all eight NE states between state capitals and through the Railways.