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Setback for BJP in Northeast, Over 25 Leaders Quit After Denial of Tickets

Setback for BJP in Northeast, Over 25 Leaders Quit After Denial of Tickets

In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, two ministers and six MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh have joined the National Peoples’ Party (NPP) of Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma.

The mass desertion followed the saffron party’s decision to not grant party ticket to state General Secretary Jarpum Gamlin, state Home Minister Kumar Waii and Tourism Minister Jarkar Gamlin and several other sitting legislators for the Assembly elections. The BJP's Parliamentary Board had on Sunday released a list of 54 candidates for the polls to the 60-member-assembly, which are being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls in the state on April 11.

Waii said the BJP has lost its previous glory in the eyes of the people for its "false promises". "We will not just fight the elections but will form an NPP government in the state," Waii said.

Besides the eight BJP MLAs, a legislator of the Peoples Party of Arunachal (PPA) and 19 other saffron party leaders also joined the NPP. The NPP, which is ruling Meghalaya along with the saffron party as an alliance partner, has decided to field 40 candidates in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly polls which will be held simultaneously with Lok Sabha elections in the state.

NPP general secretary Thomas Sangma said, "We will go it alone in Arunachal Pradesh and announce the candidates list on Wednesday." NPP state unit spokesperson Mutchu Mithi, however, said the party might go for post-poll alliance, if required.

The party would soon decide on fielding a candidate for the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state, Thomas Sangma said. The NPP is a constituent member of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).

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