Meghalaya: Congress Scrambles to Enlist Prominent Candidates to Counter Modi and Shah’s Influence in State

Guwahati: As election campaigning intensifies in the three northeastern states Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland, several well-known campaigners at the national level are travelling to the states that will hold elections to support ongoing efforts.

In an effort to counter the strength of the BJP, which is bringing in as many as 20 heavyweights, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Meghalaya to give the saffron party’s election campaign teeth, a desperate Congress is airdropping Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Shahi Tharoor to bolster its prospects ahead of the state’s February 27 elections.

While his party’s election plans have been lacking thus far, MP and president of the Meghalaya Congress Vincent H. Pala outlined his party’s plan to challenge the BJP’s dominance.

Major Congress campaigners include Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, and Shashi Tharoor. The names are currently being decided. Twenty more people from Meghalaya could also be included, according to Pala.

Pala specifically questioned PM Modi’s upcoming state visit, pointing out how much it would cost. When the Centre pays for their travel, how can a Prime Minister or Home Minister visit Meghalaya as a prominent campaigner? Come and lay the groundwork for projects that will benefit the hill state’s residents, Pala added.

Pala also made fun of the BJP’s national leaders for visiting the state as well-known campaigners. The people of Meghalaya have received nothing noteworthy even after nine years of BJP government at the Center.

He stated, “It would be beneficial for the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to visit Shillong and inaugurate schemes and projects, but they should refrain from making political remarks because the central government is paying for their visits here.”

Modi, Pala claimed, “had campaigned in the Garo Hills (in earlier years) because they can bring crowds from Assam,” was the target of much of his attack. He asserted that the BJP avoided holding similar rallies in places remote from Assam.

Moreover, Pala claimed that in states where the BJP is in power, Christians are “the receiving end.” In Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, Christians suffer the most. Christians have experienced severe persecution wherever the BJP has gone. According to Pala, the BJP is not trusted by more than 75% of Meghalaya’s Christian population.

Additionally, he said that by February 9 or 10 the Congress would release its election manifesto.

The Congress organised a rally with a sizable turnout in an effort to demonstrate its strength on February 7.

The party has lost support abroad including in Meghalaya where it was previously a powerful force.

Many individuals believe that the old party is addressing its detractors at the gathering by highlighting its existence in the state.

The surge on February 7 was the biggest in terms of scale in the preceding four and a half years, according to witnesses. They assert that the show of power also sent a message to the departing party leaders.

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