Shillong, Sep 13: Currently, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power in three states of the Northeast India. As the Assembly elections are scheduled in Meghalaya and Tripura in the early part of 2018, it has to be seen if the "Modi wave" (popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi) will work wonders for the saffron party in these two states also.
Clearly in Assam and Manipur, where the Assembly polls were held in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the "Modi wave" was the prime reason for the BJP to sweep elections in these two states.
Now, as Meghalaya is gearing up for polls, the BJP is once again banking on the "Modi wave" to come to power in the state. However, the Congress rejected the idea that the PM would have any influence in the upcoming state elections.
In fact, the BJP is facing great resistance in the state over its stand on beef eating. While the majority of Meghalaya's population, like in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, consumes beef, the Centre plans to implement beef ban across the country earlier had backfired badly for the saffron party in the state as several of its own leaders openly defied the diktats of the "high command" and hosted beef festivals.
Many of the former BJP leaders left the party over the beef ban debate. On Tuesday, Meghalaya Congress president DD Lapang said the "Modi wave" would not work in the state. "I do not see that Modi wave will work here."
Lapang, the five-time Chief Minister of the state, added that he foresaw no threat from the BJP or any other party in the 2018 Assembly elections. The veteran leader is confident of the Congress' win as he sees no strong opponent against the grand old party in the state. Lapang claimed that his party would come back to power once again.
"Looking at past records, including the last election in 2013, there is none (strong opponent) but it is too early to say how many seats the Congress will get this time," he added.
"I am not judging the performance of other parties but past records show the Congress has always been strong and has emerged as the single largest party," he said.
Currently, CM Mukul Sangma is heading the Congress government in Meghalaya with 30 MLAs, including the Speaker.