By: Rana Pratap Saikia
It was a ‘historic’ day in Guwahati today as Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma was welcomed to Assam capital Dispur by adoring fans and well-wishers. The reason for his visit? The setting up of an Assam State Unit of his National People’s Party (NPP) at Kahilipara, at a distance of less than 1 km from Dispur.
It was a big day for Sangma and the NPP party for two reasons. Firstly, the NPP led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance completed two days today. And the second and “more important” reason, as stated by Sangma, is the establishment of the NPP Unit in Assam, which is the biggest state in the North East with 14 Lok Sabha constituencies. Despite a delay of nearly 4 hours, the expectant crowd greeted the leader with loud cheers as he took to the stage in front of a jam-packed crowd comprising of mostly young faces.
The NPP party leaders have stressed time and again that they want to win over the young people of the Northeast, thus, the party’s agenda is to appeal to a young, educated and diverse audience irrespective of caste, creed or religion. As soon as retired IPS Officer and NPP Assam Convenor Dilip Bora took to the stage, he greeted not only the traditional media companies which were covering the event but also the ‘social media’ (digital media) houses. This shows that the party’s strength lies in its appeal to the largest section of social media users, the youth. The youth of the Northeast, where the party already has a presence in four states, have warmed to the party significantly after Conrad’s role in the ‘natural death’ of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
The crowd erupted in loud cheers as soon as Bora condemned the ‘black’ Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which showed that the loyalty of this crowd and Conrad’s fanbase lies with the people of the Northeast. Only time will tell whether the NPP party will be successful in its agenda of bringing the entire Northeast under one political ‘umbrella’, but it has already emerged as an alternative for the ‘newly eligible to vote’ stock of 10-26-year-old Northeasterners who are tired of the Congress-BJP duopoly in the country and want a change. It is clear that there are many people who do want Conrad K Sangma.
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