Meghalaya BJP chief under pressure to quit after the party decides not to contest LS seats

Party workers from the Garo Hills are unhappy with the BJP central leadership’s decision to support the NPP’s candidates for the State’s LS seats, allegedly in return for the NPP’s support in Arunachal Pradesh.

Updated - March 27, 2024 05:14 pm IST

Published - March 27, 2024 05:05 pm IST - Guwahati

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Meghalaya unit president Rikman G. Momin.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Meghalaya unit president Rikman G. Momin. | Photo Credit: X/@rikmangm

Pressure is mounting on Rikman G. Momin, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Meghalaya unit president, to quit in acknowledgement of his “failure” to convince the party’s central leadership to contest the two Lok Sabha seats in Meghalaya.

Leaders and workers of the BJP, especially in the Garo Hills region comprising the western half of Meghalaya, feel that their hard work over the years “went to waste” when the party decided not to field candidates for the Shillong and Tura constituencies and to support the candidates of the National People’s Party (NPP) instead.

Both NPP candidates – incumbent Agatha K. Sangma from Tura and Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh from Shillong – are women.

Meghalaya BJP VP quits

The BJP suffered a jolt on March 25 when Dipul R. Marak, its Meghalaya vice president and former Chief Executive Member of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council, quit to protest the party’s decision. Party insiders said that a few more disgruntled leaders may leave before the polls on April 19.

“The party leadership took a collective decision and I cannot go against what our central leaders draw up,” Mr. Momin said, insisting that he was in favour of the BJP contesting both the Lok Sabha seats.

The BJP is believed to have “returned the favour” after the NPP decided not to contest the two parliamentary seats in Arunachal Pradesh, one represented by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, and to support the BJP there for the sake of their alliance at the national level.

Weak seats - Shillong and Tura

A senior BJP leader pointed out that former State unit president Shibun Lyngdoh stuck his neck out in 2019 for the party to contest the Tura Lok Sabha seat. “Rikman Momin was the candidate then. He should have stood up for any of our eligible candidates and the grassroots workers who have helped expand the base of the BJP in Meghalaya,” he said.

BJP leaders in the Garo Hills were also unhappy with the assessment of M. Chuba Ao, who is in charge of the party in Meghalaya, that Shillong and Tura are “weak seats” for the party.

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