Star campaigners of various parties who are coming to Meghalaya are not well-versed in the affairs of the state and the presence of several players in the electoral field will help the NPP win the February 27 election, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said.
On the charges of corruption in the Conrad Sangma government by the BJP which snapped ties with the National People's Party (NPP) ahead of the assembly polls, Tynsong told PTI in an interview that the party did not complain of anything during the five years.
With several opposition parties such as the BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) contesting in at least 48 seats in the election to the 60-member assembly, the NPP thinks the situation will help it.
Asked whether the division of opposition votes will be of help to the NPP, Tynsong said, It will definitely be an advantage.
As election fever grips Meghalaya, big leaders from various parties -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of the BJP, Rahul Gandhi and Pawan Khera of the Congress and Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress -- are coming to the state from outside for campaigning.
The NPP does not bother about them, said Tynsong.
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"It's just like a car rally show; so many people want to take a ride, but ultimately they don't get votes," the senior NPP leader said in an interview to PTI.
Stating that Conrad Sangma is the NPP national president and he himself is the national vice president, Tynsong said they are the star campaigners of the party.
We are from the state. We don't need any other people to come from outside because they don't know anything about it. We were born and raised in Meghalaya and know the issues which really matter to the people of Meghalaya," the deputy chief minister of the outgoing government said.
He said he is confident that the party will win a minimum of 32-33 seats.
In the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, the NPP expects to bag 19 seats and 13-14 in the Garo Hills region.
To a question, Tynsong claimed the TMC will not get more than six seats as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has made a mistake in inducting former CM and Congress leader Mukul Sangma into the party.
She thought that Mukul Sangma is still a popular leader in Meghalaya, but he is not," he said.
Peeved at allegations of corruption against the NPP-led dispensation by its former coalition partners, he said that these people were with them from 2018 and never complained about anything till the elections were announced in 2023.
Claiming that there was never any misunderstanding, be it in the cabinet or coalition meetings, he said "The moment the election notification came, they started making allegations which ultimately means the NPP is growing."
Regarding discontent among a section of people over mining rights of coal in the eastern parts of the state, he said that following a National Green Tribunal ban on rat hole mining, the NPP-led government had moved the Supreme Court, which gave certain directions for safe and scientific mining of coal in Meghalaya.
The unscientific rat hole mining had led to several accidents and deaths of people in the past few years.
Tynsong said that several applications have been received for resuming coal mining, which have been sent to the ministry of Coal and Mines for approval.
"Once that is done, they can restart mining operations," he said.
Admitting that smaller landowners are not happy with the new rules for minimum land holding to get permission, he said that it cannot be helped.
"For mining activities, you need to work as per the prescribed norms," the deputy chief minister said.
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