Senior BJP leaders Ram Madhav, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Nalin Kohli camped in Phulbari on Wednesday to oversee the arrangements for the success of the rally.
Incidentally, this will be Prime Minister Modi’s maiden visit to the Garo Hills even as he has visited Meghalaya earlier.
The BJP – although has not been a big force in Meghalaya in the past – is determined to put up a strong fight to wrest power in the Congress-ruled state. “A Congress defeat in Meghalaya will be another step to eradicate the grand old party whereas if BJP can form government on it own or with allies, it will add to the tally of 19-NDA ruled states in the country,” BJP leader Billykid A Sangma said from Tura.
The Garo Hills region is also the bastion of Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is contesting from two seats Ampati and Songsak in February 27 elections. Mr Modi’s rally comes only two days after Congress President Rahul Gandhi visited Garo Hills and addressed rallies at Tura and Mendipather.
“The election rally by Prime Minister Modi at Phukbari will be significant as the crowd here will expect to see change in Meghalaya after the elections,” BJP leader Nalin Kohli said.
During his day long tour of the northeast on Thursday, Prime Minister Modi will also address an election rally at border district town of Tuensang, the key hub of ‘eastern Nagaland’ – where there has been a demand for a separate state.
BJP sources said Mr Modi’s visit to Nagaland has an added significance as besides giving momentum to the BJP-NDPP alliance campaign, the Nagaland voters in general would expect something significant and concrete on the framework agreement arrived at between the centre and the NSCN (IM) in August 2015.
Meanwhile, addressing BJP’s election rallies at Longleng and Alongtaki, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, “It is our commitment to the people that once NDPP-BJP alliance forms the government in Nagaland, every nook and corner of the state will witness development”.
The BJP is contesting 20 seats in Nagaland while its alliance partner NDPP is contesting on 40. Since 2003, the saffron party has been part of the ruling alliance in the state along with NPF but parted ways this year after organisational split in the NPF.