Three sitting MLAs are expected to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) next month, state party president Ernest Mawrie said today.
There has been widespread speculation that the Trinamool Congress’ Himalaya Shangpliang, the MLA for Mawsynram, will join the BJP before the next state elections, which are due by March 2023. Many of his supporters have already joined the saffron party.
The party has not made any list of candidates public yet, with Mawrie saying that the official candidates will be chosen by the BJP’s central leadership only.
In some seats, the party is spoilt for choice. There were as many as four BJP hopefuls for North Shillong, though only appear to remain in the race – former police officer Mariahom Kharkrang and Michael Kharsyntiew. One of the others, JA Lyngdoh, rejoined the Congress, while the other, Martamlin Pyrbot, has reportedly backed Kharsyntiew.
Mawrie also aspires to contest from West Shillong. He informed that the state unit has been directed by the central leadership to contest all 60 seats.
Meanwhile, concerning Tura MDC Bernard Marak, who was released on bail this week, Mawrie said that he will be a tough challenger to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma of the NPP from South Tura.
Marak was arrested by police over a string of unsavoury allegations concerning a property of his in Tura. However, he has managed to secure bail in each case registered against him and has finally walked free. Mawrie has maintained that the arrest of Marak, a close ally of the BJP state president, was the result of a political vendetta as Sangma is afraid of his popularity in the constituency.
“Though the matter is subjudice, we see that Marak has got bail, which means there is no evidence of the charges made against him,” Mawrie said.