GUWAHATI: The National People’s Party (NPP), a key BJP ally in the Northeast, released its first list of 29 candidates on Wednesday for Assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh, which will be held simultaneously with the first phase of Lok Sabha polls on April 11.
The 29 candidates include two ministers and six MLAs of the ruling BJP in the state. They are among the two dozen disgruntled leaders who have deserted the saffron party over the past few days after being denied tickets.
The BJP had denied tickets to state general secretary Jarpum Gamlin, home minister Kumar Waii, tourism minister Jarkar Gamlin, and several other sitting legislators.
The NPP, led by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, received a shot in the arm on Wednesday when 20 BJP leaders, including the eight lawmakers, joined the party. NPP state spokesman Mutchu Mithi said the party was looking to field at least 40 candidates for the 60-member state Assembly.
“After the BJP, probably we are fighting the maximum number of seats. Not the Congress, we have become the alternative,” Mithi claimed, adding, “When we are contesting so many seats, it is obvious that we have a bigger chance of forming the government on our own or otherwise.”
He claimed that the people of Arunachal would embrace the NPP and this was evident from “so many people joining our party”.
The NPP is a new entrant in Arunachal. The party has already made inroads into some other states in the Northeast. Apart from heading Meghalaya’s ruling coalition, it is a constituent in the coalition governments of Nagaland and Manipur.