Shillong: The BJP on Friday announced its first list of 45 candidates for the Meghalaya Assembly polls and voiced the confidence to oust the ruling Congress that has been in power for the last one decade.
Election to the 60-member assembly is scheduled to be held on February 27.
However, the party denied a ticket to state unit chief Shibun Lyngdoh’s sister Violet Lyngdoh in favour of former Parliamentary Secretary Justine Dkhar, who quit the assembly and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Violet Lyngdoh, who is a sitting member of Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council, is set to join the NDA-affiliate National People’s Party and fight the election against Dkhar from Khliehriat constituency.
Though, Violet was denied a ticket, the BJP has allotted tickets to two of her women colleagues in the party, Pelcy Snaitang and Marian Maring from Ranikor and Nongpoh assembly constituency, respectively.
The list includes former Congress Minister Alexander Hek, former Deputy Speaker Sanbor of the Nationalist Congress Party and former Parliamentary Secretary Robinus Syngkon, who had joined the BJP and will be contesting from Pynthorumkhrah, South Shillong and Mokakiaw assembly seats, respectively.
“Broadly it is almost a final list as we are not contesting in all the seats. But there could be a second list in a few more seats. We are not ruling it out. May be on Sunday or Monday it will come,” BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli told IANS.
Denying that there is dissension in the BJP over the allotment of party tickets to aspirants, Kohli said: “Most of the aspirants who did not get ticket have agreed to support the official candidate.”
“We were looking for better candidates for the benefit of the party and we would not go by emotions while deciding our candidates because we are here to fight,” he said.
The BJP does not have a representative in the outgoing Meghalaya assembly, whose term expires on March 6.
Other prominent candidates in the list include former Power Minister Riang Lenon Tariang, former Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Billykid Sangma, former Food and Civil Supplies Minister John Antonius Lyngdoh, former Congress legislator P.W.Khongjee and former Excise Minister K.C.Boro.
The BJP has fielded a retired director of Weaving and Sericulture, Bakul Hajong and Thomas Marak in Ampatigiri and Songsak assembly constituency against Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
Sangma, who has been winning for five consecutive terms from Ampatigiri constituency since 1993, will be contesting from two assembly seats – Ampatigiri and Songsak under Tura parliamentary constituency in the Garo Hills region.
“Our candidates are going to give a good fight against Mukul Sangma and we will ensure that we win both seats,” Kohli said.