4 Meghalaya MLAs switch to BJP; party calls it ‘significant development’

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday that the switching of four Meghalaya legislators to the BJP is a “significant development” for the saffron party in the state where Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in February next year.

Sitting Independent MLA Samuel Sangma, Benedict Marak and Ferlin C.A. Sangma of the National People’s Party (NPP) and H.M. Shangpliang of Trinamool Congress joined the BJP in the national capital on Wednesday in presence of Sarma and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.

Samuel Sangma is an independent MLA and was an associate member of the United Democratic Party (UDP) before joining the BJP on Wednesday.

After the joining, Sarma, also the convener of BJP-led anti-Congress front North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), made the four leaders meet BJP’s national president J.P. Nadda.

Identifying the four leaders as “experienced and respected political figures”, the Assam Chief Minister said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi government, the northeastern region has undergone tremendous development in every sector since the NDA government came to power at the Centre in 2014.

“With massive development and restoration of peace, three BJP governments returned to power in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur,” he told the media in Delhi expressing his optimism that the BJP would achieve “spectacular performance” in the upcoming assembly polls in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya.

With two MLAs — Pynthorumkhrah (Alexander Laloo Hek) and South Shillong (Sanbor Shullai), BJP is a partner of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government, dominated by the NPP headed by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma.

Shullai is now a cabinet minister of the MDA government and in-charge of five departments including Animal Husbandry and Veterinary and Labour Departments.

The BJP in Meghalaya has for the past more than two months threatened to withdraw support from the MDA.

The UDP is also one of the constituents of the ruling MDA, a 6-party alliance government.

However, the NPP, BJP and the UDP had already announced that they are going to contest Assembly elections early next year as separate entities.

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