SHILLONG: Former Congress minister A L Hek and ex-state president of NCP Sanbor Shullai, who crossed over recently, were among among 45 candidates named by the BJP today for Meghalaya assembly polls.
Soon after the release of the first list of candidates, state BJP president Shibun Lyngdoh's sister Violet Lyngdoh walked out of the party along with her supporters and joined the National People's Party (NPP), saying she was denied a ticket which was assured to her.
The BJP, which is hoping to expand its footprint in the North-east, is contesting all 60 assembly seats in the February 27 elections. NPP, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Manipur, are contesting Meghalaya polls separately.
"The central election committee (of the BJP) has released the first list of candidates for the February 27 election," the BJP's Meghalaya unit chief Shibun Lyngdoh told PTI.
NPP, headed by Conrad P Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, is a constituent of the BJP-led North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a political coalition that was formed in 2016.
Violet, who is also an elected member of the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council from Khliehriat in East Jaintia Hills, joined the NPP along with the district president of the BJP Balios Swer and leaders from 42 booth committees in the district.
Justine Dkhar, who quit from the Assembly on January 2 and joined the BJP along with three MLAs including former Congress minister A L Hek and NCP president Sanbor Shullai, has been given ticket from Khliehriat BJP.
At the NPP office, Violet Lyngdoh was given warm welcome.
She is likely to be given ticket from Khliehriat.
"I have joined the NPP after I was denied the BJP ticket which was assured to me,” she told reporters.
She claimed that she had have worked for the BJP at Khliehriat and in Jaintia Hills region for the past five years but was denied ticket at the behest of a "readymade candidate" Justine Dkhar.
Sparing her brother and state BJP president Shibun Lyngdoh, Violet Lyngdoh said it was the party that took the final decision and not him alone.
The state BJP president was not available for comments.
"It is a fact that she (Violet) has tendered her resignation," a senior BJP leader in the state told PTI.
Two women feature in the BJP list -- state mahila morcha president Pelcy Snaitang (from the Ranikor constituency) and Marian Maring (from the Nongpoh constituency in Ri-Bhoi district).
Oher former legislators, who lost in the 2013 state polls but feature in the list, include R L Tariang, J A Lyngdoh, Phlour Khongjee, John Manner Marak, K C Boro and Billykid Sangma.
The second list of candidates for the remaining 15 constituencies was likely to be out very soon, Lyngdoh said.
After formation of governments in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, the BJP is making efforts to further expand its presence in the North-east. The saffron party is sparing no efforts to perform well in upcoming elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
The BJP had drawn a blank in Meghalaya in 2013 polls when it had fought on 13 seats.