UDP demands BJP’s ouster from ruling Meghalaya coalition

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Shillong, Feb 25 (IANS) The United Democratic Party, a key partner in the National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government, here on Monday demanded ouster of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the coalition following controversies and violence over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

“We are firm that the BJP should no longer be part of the MDA government. We are just waiting for the time to see its ouster from the coalition,” UDP Vice-President, Allantry Franklin Dkhar, told journalists.

The UDP, which has nine legislators, including two associate members, in the 60-member Assembly, had snapped ties with the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) over the issue.

“We will officially take up the issue at the upcoming MDA meeting, slated after the election results of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council on March 2,” Dkhar said.

Asked if the UDP would break ties with the MDA, if the National People’s Party (NPP) did not accept the demand, he refused to comment. “I cannot comment on that at this juncture. We will cross the bridge when we reach there,” he said.

Over the option to align with the Congress since the UDP will be the “kingmaker” in any new government formation, Dkhar said: “We made him (Conrad Sangma) king. It is his prerogative to take a call (on dropping the BJP from the alliance).”

He reminded that the UDP had pulled out of the BJP-led NEDA due to the controversial Bill, besides the BJP leadership’s insensitivity towards indigenous Meghalayans, in particular, and in the Northeast as a whole.

“It is pointless to have an association with an alliance whose member is bringing legislation like Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which is a threat to the identity of the indigenous population in the state. We are upset with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has no respect for sentiments of the people of the region on the Bill,” Dkhar said.

The six-party MDA coalition government comprises the NPP (20), the UDP (9), the People’s Democratic Front (4), the BJP and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (2 each) and the Nationalist Congress Party (1) besides an Independent.

The opposition Congress has 19 members besides lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement member.

–IANS

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