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BJP’s anti-Christian image will rub off on NPP: Paul

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SHILLONG, March 27: The United Democratic Party (UDP) on Wednesday said the National People’s Party may have attracted the pro-Hindutva and anti-Christian tag by accepting the BJP’s support.
Hardcore BJP supporters may support the NPP because they do not have a choice. But the pro-Hindutva and anti-Christian image of the BJP will rub off on the NPP because of the pre-poll understanding, Cabinet Minister and UDP working president Paul Lyngdoh said Wednesday.
It will all boil down to the number of BJP and NPP supporters swayed by the strategic friendship between the two parties, he said.
The BJP central leadership recently decided to opt out of the Lok Sabha polls in Meghalaya and extend its support to NPP, its coalition partner in the state and an NDA partner at the Centre.
Welcoming the BJP’s decision, NPP state president and Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong said his party will receive about a lakh votes from BJP supporters in the Shillong parliamentary seat.
“It needs in-depth analysis. I cannot give any figures now,” Lyngdoh said when asked about Tynsong’s estimate.
Referring to the Voice of the People Party, Lyngdoh said it is confined to the East Khasi Hills and lacks state-wide presence and hence cannot claim to be a regional party.
“A party needs to have a presence across the state to qualify as a regional party. This is something the VPP lacks. It is a district party at best,” he said when asked to comment on the VPP claiming to be the only party batting for the Jaidbynriew (indigenous people).
“A lot of people say a lot of things but this government and some of the elected representatives have worked silently for the good of the people,” he said. “I make a lot of decisions in the interest of the people but I cannot shout from the rooftop of the secretariat after signing every file,” he added.
He also said the electoral performance of the party should not be gauged by the turnout at political meetings.
“More than 85% of the people who vote do not turn up for rallies and meetings or show their tilt toward any party or candidate, which is why it is called a secret ballot. But if some people like to be theatrical about expressing their support, it is their choice,” Lyngdoh said.
He said each political party is entitled to its ideology. “We are more interested in a stable governance and political system in Meghalaya,” he said.
He said many people keep asking why the UDP is in the government with the NPP.
“Even a blind man can see that Meghalaya is divided into two regions – the Garo Hills and the Khasi Jaintia Hills. The Garo Hills voted overwhelmingly for the NPP and the Khasi-Jaintia region was largely with the UDP and HSPDP,” he said.
“You have to respect the mandate of the people. We did by cobbling up a stable coalition representative of the people from both the regions of Meghalaya,” he added.

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