Prime Minister Narendra Modi will campaign for BJP in Meghalaya in the second week of February for the coming assembly election in the northeastern state, party state unit president Ernest Mawrie said on Friday.
Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and Nitin Gadkari will be among the 20 star campaigners for the saffron party in the state for the February 27 poll, he said.
Chief ministers of other BJP-ruled states will also be campaigning in the state, Mr Mawrie said.
"The date for the PM's visit has not been fixed. But just after February 10, maybe February 11-12, the prime minister will address several election rallies in all Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hill regions of the state," Mr Mawrie said.
The BJP is looking at increasing its presence in the 60-member of House from just two at present so as to lead the next government.
The state party president said BJP will announce its candidate's list in February after the Election Commission notifies the poll.
"We have prepared the list today and we are going to send it to Delhi. We are likely to declare the names of candidates within February 2," he said, after chairing a meeting of BJP's state election committee.
According to Mr Mawrie, the party will field about 10 women candidates.
Expressing confidence that the party will win more seats in the coming poll than last time, he said, "Last time we had projected wins in 25 seats. This time we have projected 35 seats and we expect to win more seats so that we can lead the government." Asked, Mr Mawrie said "We are not planning for a coalition with any party. Let us wait till after the results to find out like-minded parties who are willing to follow our agenda of corruption-free government," he added.
BJP is a partner of the current ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance in the state led by the National People's Party of Chief Minister Conrad P Sangma.
Mr Mawrie said the party will focus on development in its manifesto. "We don't have good infrastructure in terms of roads (in Meghalaya). People always complain about traffic congestion. We don't have medical or engineering colleges. All these issues will be solved if we have a double engine government - a government by the same party here in Meghalaya and at the Centre," he said.
Indicating the progress in Assam, the state BJP president said "Look at the neighbouring state. Development has taken place there at a faster pace in terms of roads, colleges and medical colleges. The people of Meghalaya have the same aspirations for development. We will take it up if we get a chance to form the next government (in Meghalaya)." On fielding candidates with criminal backgrounds, he said the party is yet to receive any information on them.
"Maybe some candidates have some cases against them but it has not come to our notice. We will follow the Election Commission's guidelines if and when we receive such information," he added.
Asked about the party's stand on the Inner Line Permit issue, Mawrie said the state government has passed an official resolution in the Assembly on it and it is now with the Centre. "We will wait for the Centre''s decision." The Meghalaya Assembly passed a resolution in December 2019 urging Centre to implement ILP in the state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, to safeguard the interests of the citizens of the state.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)