Meghalaya Assembly Election 2023: NPP stuns ally BJP to go solo; fields 58 candidates out of 60 seats

Shillong: The ruling NPP in Meghalaya on Thursday announced a list of 58 candidates for the elections to the 60-member assembly in the state. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma will contest from South Tura in West Garo Hills district, while his deputy Prestone Tyansong will contest from Pyinursla in East Khasi Hills district.

Industries Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar is contesting from Nartiang in West Jaintia Hills district and Transport Minister Dasakhiatbha Lamare will contest from Nongkrem in East Khasi Hills district.

Addressing a rally at the Polo Ground here, the chief minister said several MLAs from different parties have joined the NPP in the last five years, which shows that it is “getting stronger”.

The NPP has given nominations to at least 10 MLAs who switched sides before the elections. These include former Congress MLAs Ampareen Lyngdoh (Laitumkharah) and Mohindro Rapsang (West Shillong), former PDF MLA Hamletson Dohling (Mylim) and former HSPDP MLA Samlin Malanggiang (Sohiong).

Sangma said, “These MLAs have not joined NPP for political gains, but for the larger cause of serving the people of the state.” The party has not announced any candidate for the Myran seat in East West Khasi Hills district and the South Shillong constituency.

At the rally, the Chief Minister also released a booklet titled ‘Promises Delivered’ outlining the promises made by his party ahead of the 2018 elections and the work done to achieve them in the last five years.

“The amount of development that the NPP-led government has done in Meghalaya in the last five years has not happened in the 50 years since it became a state,” he said. “If there is any political party which will ever find a solution to the inter-state boundary issue, it is NPP. I can assure you that if we are given a chance in 2023, we will resolve the boundary issue so that people of the state People can live peacefully,” he said.

The NPP won 19 seats in the last elections and formed the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) with the HSDP, UDP, PDF and BJP to deny the Congress another term in the state. However, Sangma again decided to go it alone in this election.

Its main contender in the state is the TMC led by former chief minister Mukul Sangma. Sangma, along with 11 other Congress MLAs, switched sides to join the TMC last year, making it the main opposition party in the state overnight.

The Congress was the single largest party after the 2018 elections, in which it won 21 seats.

Urging the people of the state to vote for a government with absolute majority, he said that this year would lay the foundation for the next 50 years of Meghalaya and a strong government would ensure that the dreams and aspirations of the people are carried forward.

“I am sure people will once again repose their faith in NPP to fulfill their dream of a new Meghalaya,” he said.

“No one can look down on us and say that we are a small state. We will ensure that we become a model state and tell our positive stories to the rest of the country,” he said.