The Nationalists Congress Party (NCP) will contest at least 42 seats in Meghalaya where Assembly election is due in the first quarter of this year, party general secretary Praful Patel said on Tuesday. “We are going to contest in 22 out of 24 seats in the Garo Hills region and at least 20 seats in the Khasi Hills,” the NCP leader told reporters here after chairing a party meeting and also laying the foundation stone of the party office.
“In Nagaland we are going to contest but in fewer seats. We have had four MLAs in Nagaland in the past. In Tripura we are not going to contest except for marginal token seats (may be),” he said. Elections in these states are due in the first quarter of the year as the tenure of their current assemblies ends by March. The term of the Meghalaya assembly ends on March 6. Patel, who was here on whirlwind two-day tour in the state, will be addressing a rally in the Garo Hills on Wednesday before returning to the national capital. He also released the first list of six candidates (Khasi Jaintia Hills region) including former minister E C B Bamon.
The NCP national general secretary also formally announced the appointment of Saleng A Sangma as the state party president in Meghalaya. The appointment letter was handed over to Saleng on Monday after he quit the assembly. Attacking the ruling Congress government, Patel said, “Misgovernance was of the highest order and the people are disillusioned and are looking for a change.” He also said that the party will contest this coming elections along with some of the regional parties who would be having some kind of understanding (alliances), adding that the matter will be more clear as the elections approaches.
Admitting the growing popularity of the BJP, Patel said, “The divisive policies of these parties (the BJP and its allies) right from their food habits, cultural and religious ethos we see fragmentations.” He said, “I am sure the people of Meghalaya will outrightly reject these kinds of infringement on their personal food habits, their beliefs, religious ethos and I am sure proper answer will be given by the state in this coming election.” He said, “The NCP is the alternative party which is aimed at bringing good governance and we intend to make that change and let people decide.”