Shillong News | Shillong/Tura, March 03, 2018:
Despite several attempts to charm the people of Meghalaya with its developmental agenda, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fell flat on the ground with the party failing to even cross 5 as expected in Khasi/Jaintia Hills even as it couldn’t open an account in Garo Hills.
The party failed to get even one seat amongst the 23 that were up for grabs.
The result has left the saffron party red faced after extensive campaigning by the BJP bigwigs in the state, who included the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP party president, Amit Shah besides other regional and national party leaders.
It may be reminded that the BJP had fielded candidates in 47 seats in the state but managed to grabbed only two seats that too, only in Khasi Hills. Thanks to A.L Hek and Sanbor Shullai, the two prominent politicians who joined the party only on January this year.
Had it not be for former Congress minister, AL Hek and former NCP chief, Sanbor Shullai, who are known to be the people’s favourites, the BJP would have settled for nil even in this assembly election. Though it was an easy win for Shullai, who defeated his rival — Manas Chaudhuri of the Congress by a margin of 5097, Hek on the other hand, had to initially struggle his way to the top to finally emerge victorious by defeating his rival– James Ban Basaiawmoit of the People’s Democratic Party (PDF) by 1418 votes.
Meanwhile, in Jaintia Hills, the BJP had counted on former legislators — Justine Dkhar and Robinus Syngkon who joined the party on January this year along with Hek and Shullai. But to their utter surprise, the duo failed to impress the people of Khliehriat and Mowkaiaw like they did in 2013 and lost the battle to UDP candidates — Kyrmen Shylla and Nujorki Sungoh respectively.
In Garo Hills, the party failed in all constituencies, though they did managed to come second in only 2 seats, Ampati and South Tura.
Embarrassingly for the saffron party, the BJP candidate for the Phulbari seat, where the PM, Narendra Modi paid a visit on Feb 22, came last amongst four contestants. Modi’s maiden visit to Garo Hills saw more than 70,000 people in attendance, raising hopes of a better performance than what eventually came through.
Amit Shah’s visit too had seen more than 20,000 people attending the rally but their candidate came a poor 4th amongst 10 candidates. Tikrikilla is considered one of the seats from where the saffron party was strong, though infighting as well as the choice of candidate meant that the party suffered an embarrassing loss here as well.
Rahinath Barchung, who was rejected in favour of Kapil Boro for the BJP ticket, came a close second in the contest, posing further questions on the think-tank of the BJP in terms of their internal assessment.
In nearby Raksamgre, EK Sangma, who was also rejected by the BJP, beat Janathan Rabha (who was given the BJP ticket) eventually coming third to the NPP and Congress.
The BJP was, however, competitive in quite a few seats, including Dalu and Salmanpara where their candidates stood third in both. Elsewhere though, the party was literally decimated despite the wide nature of the campaigns conducted by the leaders of the party in Garo Hills.
However, despite losing 45 out of 47 seats in the state, the saffron party is all prepped up to form the government with the help of NPP and UDP, which are also part of the political alliance — North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and it is possible that the trio with the support of other small parties and independent candidates will oust the Congress and form the next government.