It’s okay to have differences with BJP, says Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma

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  • Sangma said differences are natural in a diverse country like India
  • Says his party has been with BJP since 2012
  • Accepts dynasty politics in Meghalaya, says people are best judge

New Delhi, November 25, 2018: Six months after becoming the chief minister of Meghalaya by stitching an alliance with six parties, including the BJP, Conrad Sangma said it is natural for the alliance partners to have occasional differences. He said this in response to a question about allegations that the BJP is trying to indirectly control power in Meghalaya.

Sangma was speaking at the India Today Conclave East 2018 in Kolkata on Saturday. When asked about the reasons for aligning with the BJP, he said the National People’s Party (NPP) has been with the BJP since 2012 when his father PA Sangma formed the party.

“The BJP-led NDA supported my father during the presidential election in 2012. Since India is a diverse country, it is natural that we will have occasional differences. For example, we have openly expressed our differences with the BJP on the Citizenship Amendment Bill,” the Meghalaya CM said.

ON DYNASTY POLITICS

One of the recurring criticisms faced by Conrad Sangma is that his party thrives on dynasty politics. His father PA Sangma founded the NPP. His sister Agatha Sangma is a key member and former Union minister, while his brother James Sangma is Meghalaya’s current home minister.

Responding to a question whether his party has become an extended family business, Sangma said, “Yes maybe. This is because of PA Sangma’s personality and legacy and the fact that his name is much easy to identify. But in the end, it is the people who decide whether someone deserves their vote or not. Despite my father being a stalwart, I lost my first election.”

EXPANDING BEYOND MEGHALAYA

Speaking about the political scenario in the Northeast, Sangma said there is a need for a pan-Northeast party that represents all eight states.

“Many leaders from the Northeast have also felt this vacuum. There are no doubts that we share the national ethos but there are issues specific to the region that needs special attention.”

Sangma said the NPP is trying to expand its base outside Meghalaya where it presently has 20 seats and is leading an alliance.

“We have MLAs in Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. We will also contest the upcoming assembly elections in Mizoram,” he said.

Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)