EDITORIAL | NPP-BJP cold war in Meghalaya: Who is rolling the dice?



The cold war between some members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National People’s Party (NPP) over several issues namely the alleged corruption in the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) and alleged irregularities in the Power department is far from over as the state BJP leadership is unwilling to back down.

Though the two BJP legislators – Health minister A.L Hek and South Shillong MLA Sanbor Shullai, claimed that they are unaware of what the state party leadership, led by president Ernest Mawrie and vice president Bernard N Marak, is up to, it is unlikely that the right hand wouldn’t know what the left hand is doing.

South Shillong legislator Sanbor Shullai had frequently maintained that he was not aware of the activities of the state party leadership. It is worth mentioning that Shullai’s aspiration for a cabinet berth is no longer a hidden agenda and Hek, who is a minister in the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government, is unwilling to step down and hand over the reins to Shullai.

The BJP has been continuously attacking the NPP-led MDA coalition government, of which the BJP is an ally, over corruption charges in the two autonomous district councils.

The awkward situation between the BJP state party leadership and the MDA coalition partners, especially the NPP was clearly noticeable during the meeting of the MDA partners on November 26 at Pinewood Hotel in Shillong where BJP state president Ernest Mawrie and vice president Bernard Marak were absent.

The continuous attacks on the MDA had hit a nerve with Meghalaya chief minister and NPP national president Conrad K. Sangma, who said that if a coalition partner had any issue concerning the government, they would be more than welcome to approach the coordination committee instead of going directly to the media.

The BJP state president had justified his allegations based on RTI findings and has asked the government to rectify these mistakes.

Mawrie had stated that one could never know what will happen in the next two years and clarified that the BJP is not charging the NPP but the government over the alleged irregularities.

The attacks and counter-attacks also reached the BJP central party leadership following which its national vice president in-charge of Meghalaya, Dr Chuba Ao visited the state on November 25 to assure the MDA government that the BJP would stick with the coalition till the end of its term.

Is Ernest Mawrie and Bernard Marak walking on thin ice? Will the difference of opinions between the state party leadership and the BJP legislators take a new turn in these coming months? Or is this just part of a bigger and complicated game that the BJP is playing?

Whatever it is, it will be interesting to see what happens next.