Body blow for BJP in Arunachal; ministers, MLAs, others join NPP

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NPP to declare names of 30 candidates today

HT Bureau

ITANAGAR, March 19: Ruling BJP in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday received a major setback ahead of the Lok Sabha as well as Assembly polls, two ministers of the BJP government, 12 sitting legislators and the party’s general secretary joined the National Peoples’ Party (NPP). The NPP’s state unit spokesperson Mutchu Mithi later informed that the party would announce names of more than 30 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections on Wednesday.

“BJP MLAs who did not get tickets and our own aspirants will be joining the party and tomorrow we will release the first list of more than 30 candidates for the Assembly election,” said Mithi.

Informing that a number of incumbent legislative members have already joined the party and that others will join, Mithi said that the NPP is likely to field candidates for about 80 to 90 percent of the seats. He said that the NPP does not want to contest elections for the sake of contesting elections and will be looking at the viability of chances of winning.

“We will see the viability and strength of the recently joined members and our existing members, and we will contest if we see we have a fighting chance,” said the state’s NPP spokesperson.

Arunachal BJP general secretary Jarpum Gamlin, two ministers Kumar Waii and Jarkar Gamlin and 12 other sitting MLAs have met NPP national general secretary Thomas Sangma at Itanagar on Tuesday evening and joined the regional party.

Mithi downplayed the role of ideological differences when it came to former BJP members working with the NPP’s ideology and vision, stating that “even though they had joined the BJP and had aspired for a BJP ticket their values were more or less aligned with the ideology of the NPP”. He, however, added that any decision to give someone the party’s ticket to contest elections will depend on several aspects which include what personality that person has.

In the meantime, he also said that the NPP is not a B-team to any political party as assumed and alleged by the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee and that the NPP has its own ideology and vision. Mithi also said that the NPP will be fighting a “friendly election” against the BJP even though it is an alliance partner in several states and the Centre. As of now, the two parties do not have a pre-poll alliance.

The saffron party has declared its list of 54 candidates for the assembly polls on Sunday and Gamlin, Waii, Jarkar were and several other sitting MLAs did not find their names in the list.

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