NPP ready to contest all 25 seats in Northeast

NPP ready to contest all 25 seats in Northeast

Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP chief Conrad K Sangma in Guwahati on Wednesday. Photo by Manash Das.

After leading a joint fight against the NDA’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the National People’s Party (NPP) chief and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said that the party is ready to contest in 25 Lok Sabha seats in the Northeast.

“In politics, nobody listens to your voice if you don’t have the numbers. If one or two MP from the Northeast goes to Delhi with some issues, they don’t get importance. When 5-10 MPs go together, they are not just served tea but their problems are also addressed quickly. So we must unite to fight for the issues and problems confronting the Northeast,” Sangma said here while launching the party’s Assam unit.

Despite the BJP being an ally of the NPP-led Meghalaya government, Sangma united 11 regional parties in the Northeast including eight partners of the BJP-floated North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) last month and stood against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, sought to allow non-Muslim “persecuted minorities” who had migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan till December 2014 to apply for Indian citizenship, after a stay of six years.

Organisations in the Northeast including the BJP’s allies took to the streets while Asom Gana Parishad, the regional party quit the BJP-led Assam government.

Organisations representing the indigenous people fear that the bill is aimed at leaving them into minorities by offering citizenship to “large illegal migrants” living in the region.

“Many organisations shouted and resorted to bandh calls. But Delhi did not pay any heed. When we all united—be its NGOs, religious organisations or political parties, Delhi relented and did not introduce the bill in the Rajya Sabha. NPP wants to expand further and fight together to force Delhi to listen to our voices,” he said.

When asked about the number of seats the NPP is eyeing to contest and a possible alliance with others, Sangma said, “We are ready to contest in all 25 seats but our election committee will soon take a call.”

Conrad is the son of former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma.

Formed in 2012, the NPP leads the Meghalaya government and is part of governments in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.

It is now planning to expand in Assam, having 14 Lok Sabha seats and 126 Assembly constituencies.

The party has appointed former IPS officer and AGP leader, Dilip Bora as convenor of its Assam unit and has embarked on mass induction drive ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

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