ITANAGAR: In a massive setback for the BJP just days ahead of the Lok Sabha and Meghalaya Assembly polls, 18 party leaders switched over to the National People's Party (NPP), led by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. The leaders are reportedly angry over being denied tickets in the upcoming polls.
Of the 18 leaders, eight are sitting MLAs including two state ministers - Home Minister Kumar Waii and Tourism Minister Jarkar Gamlin. Other BJP members are Thangwang Wangham, Tapuk Taku, Pani Taram, Pangka Bage, Wangling Lowandong and Kardo Nyigyor, former BJP General Secretary Jarpum Gamlin, and former minister Tsering Jurmey joined the National People’s Party.
"We will not just fight the elections but will form an NPP government in the state," Waii told news agency PTI, adding that the BJP has lost its previous glory in the eyes of the people for its "false promises".
The NPP is a constituent member of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and BJP’s biggest electoral ally in the North East.
Sangma, who fell out with the BJP over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, will contest alone in the 60-member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly.
Besides the 18 BJP leaders, a legislator of the Peoples Party of Arunachal (PPA) also joined the NPP.
The development comes a week after the saffron party finalised its alliances in the Northeast, sealing the alliances with the Asom Gana Parishad, Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF), Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), National People's Party, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha.