Meghalaya Assembly polls: Shashi Tharoor invokes Congress’ ‘performance record’ to counter BJP
Shillong, Feb 24: In poll-bound Meghalaya, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is giving a good fight to the incumbent Congress which is in power for almost 15 years in the state. From Prime Minister Narendra Modi (who recently campaigned in Meghalaya) to BJP president Amit Shah, in the picturesque state of Northeast, the BJP is appealing to voters to throw the Congress out of power as the incumbent government under chief minister Mukul Sangma has failed to bring development in the state. The BJP alleged that the Congress government in Meghalaya is "corrupt" and its leaders have pocketed all the funds meant for developmental work in the state.
The Congress, on its part, is appealing to the people of the state to reject the BJP as it is "communal". As the high-voltage campaign continues, Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday predicted the party would come back to power in Meghalaya on account of good performance record of its government whereas the BJP has no "record of delivery".
Tharoor said that the BJP's failure in the delivery of its poll promises made in 2014 have left people of Meghalaya with no hope that they would deliver in the state. Stating that the BJP's biggest weakness is that they have no record of delivery even at the national level, Tharoor said, "What make the people here suddenly believe that somehow in Meghalaya they will deliver when they have not done anywhere else?"
On the other hand, the Congress government in the state has good performance record and that would help the party romp home. "I believe that the Congress is in with a very good chance (of retaining power). The present government in Meghalaya actually got performances to point to and it can turn to the voters and seek rewards for our performances," Tharoor, who was here to campaign for the party, told journalists. He said the government here has proof to its performances.
"The social audit law is a law and it exists. Meghalaya got the best record in women education, empowerment in the proportion of women in school and higher education and these are national figures maintained by the HRD Ministry," he said to drive home the point.
Taking a dig at the BJP Government at the Centre, the All India Professional Congress chairman said, "The BJP has failed spectacularly for the three-and-a-half-year to achieve anything at the central government level.
"And now they claim that they are going to achieve something in Meghalaya which will be an improvement on the achievement of the existing government?"
He also downplayed BJP's aggressive campaign which began in Shillong with the Central government offering Rs 70 crore as pre-poll sops under the Swadesh Darshan Schemes to the churches. "The vigorous efforts by the BJP with the backing of the resources by the Centre will not work as money alone can't buy votes," he said.
Claiming that the NDA government has only renamed schemes initiated by the UPA government, Tharoor said, "What they have done is they have become a name changing government but a not a game-changing government."
"Instead what they have initiated you have the demonetisation. It was a bad idea and badly implemented and you have the GST which was a good idea but badly implemented," he said.
The Congress leader, who campaigned for Shillong-East candidate Ampareen Lyngdoh and held two small meetings at cafés in Shillong, also criticized the BJP ally, the National People's Party, with whom the BJP formed the government in Manipur.
Calling it a "masked party", Tharoor said the NPP pretends to be one thing while it speaks for local interests but also attaches itself to a party which in so many ways has betrayed the values of our country.
The Member of Parliament and a former bureaucrat also accused the BJP Government of "promoting a narrow-minded idea of India" which he said was "an idea based on Hindutva that is their only message."
Hitting at the reported attacks on Christians in BJP-ruled states, Tharoor questioned the "real face" of the BJP Government. "In Meghalaya, they come here and say that you can eat whatever you like and in the rest of India they beat and even kill people on suspicious of having eaten beef," he said.
The Elections to the 60-member Assembly in Meghalaya is scheduled on February 27.
While the Congress will be contesting in all the seats, the BJP has put up candidates in 47 seats.
Along with Meghalaya, Nagaland is also hosting the state Assembly elections on February 27. Tripura has voted for the Assembly polls on February 18. The result of all the three Assembly elections will be declared on March 3.