The BJP will take a call on candidates for the coming assembly elections in three states with a meeting of its Central Election Committee on Friday, sources have said. All prominent leaders — including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President JP Nadda, Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Home Minister Amit Shah — will participate in the meeting that will be held at the party headquarters in Delhi.The meet will finalise candidates for Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, which go to polls next month. Tripura will vote on February 16, Meghalaya and Nagaland on February 27. In all three states, the BJP is in power. While it has formed government in Tripura single-handedly, in the other two states, it has tied up with regional powers. Sources said the party is likely to drop many of the sitting MLAs in all three states. In Tripura, the BJP changed its Chief Minister last year. Sources indicated the change was made in the run-up to the elections to avoid anti-incumbency and control infighting within the party’s state unit. Manik Saha, who replaced Biplab Deb, has launched a door-to-door campaign, flagging the development in the state over the last five years. Working towards consolidating its gains, the party is also holding a rath yatra in Tripura that started earlier this month. Union minister and the party’s chief strategist Amit Shah also announced at a rally that the Ram Temple will be ready by next January – an announcement seen as a trailer to its strategy for the 2024 general election. Mr Shah has predicted that the BJP will return to power in the state with two-thirds majority. The Congress is “finished in the country” and the Communists have “ended in the world,” Mr Shah has said. What might queer the BJP pitch is the “closed-door” talks between its disgruntled ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura or IPFT and TIPRA, led by erstwhile royal and former Congress leader Pradyot Manikya Debbarman. A merger between the two parties might turn the political equation even more tough for the BJP ahead of the election to the 60-member assembly. The IPFT and TIPRA together have the potential to sweep the 20 tribal reserved seats in the state and also play a deciding role in another five to seven seats.In Meghalaya, the BJP had won only two seats in 2018 and is part of the Conrad Sangma government. This time, it aims to win more seats and is contesting solo.In Nagaland, the BJP had won 12 seats in 2018 and was partner in the NDPP led government of Neiphiu Rio. This time, the party will contest in alliance with NDPP again. Of the state’s 60 seats, the NDPP will contest in 40, the BJP in 20 seats.
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