Shillong, Jan 29 (PTI) For the February 27 Meghalaya Assembly election the Congress will not be holding big rallies nor will it have star campaigners but instead it will focus to connect with the voters, a senior party leader said on Sunday.
With 80 per cent of our candidates new faces contesting the assembly election for the first time, the Congress will focus on visiting houses of the voters and holding small rallies at local community level to connect with the voters so that they could know their candidates, Meghalaya Congress president Vincent H Pala said.
"We will not have star campaigners and there will be no big political rallies. Instead, we will focus and adapt to what is best in the political dynamics of the state. People here prefer to get to know their candidates more than their party affiliation," Pala told PTI.
The Meghalaya Congress president said he himself will not be hosting big rallies in the Sutnga-Saipung constituency from where he is contesting the Assembly election.
"I will be attending constituency-based rallies and party meetings convened by party candidates and their supporters," he said Pala recalled the setback the party suffered in 2021 when 12 out of 17 Congress MLAs left the party and joined the Trinamool Congress and how the remaining five who were suspended for their anti-party activities also deserted the party.
He, however, expressed confidence that the traditional Congress voters have not deserted the party.
"The leaders may have left and joined other political parties but the voters have remained with us (Congress). I have feedbacks to believe in this and on March 2 we will see the results," he told PTI.
Pala expressed confidence that the Congress will win 30-35 seats in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly in the February 27 election. He said the party has fielded many young and fresh faces as the state need young leaders to lead the state.
The Congress is not alone in adopting strategies to connect with the voters in this hill state, according to political observers.
"We have seen candidates who won elections in Meghalaya are the ones who have connected really well with the voters all throughout regardless of their party affiliations," said Manosh Das, an analyst and a political observer who has followed elections in Meghalaya for over three decades.
Das said the politics in Meghalaya is unique and different and people here are not easily swayed by big rallies and big parties.
"Political parties are like big teams in sports and candidates with strong connections with the masses are like best players. The teams select good players based on their winning factor," he said.
He cited the examples of former minister AL Hek and cabinet minister Sanbor Shullai, now both with the BJP, who have managed to retain their seats irrespective of their party affiliations in the past.
Das also cited how the Trinamool Congress came from behind to snatch 12 out of 17 Congress MLAs including former chief minister Mukul Sangma and former speaker Charles Pyngrope.
"On their own, the TMC would have drawn a blank in this hill state. However, with the set of MLAs they have now, they are a force to reckon with in the Garo Hills region at least and they are expected to win some seats there," he said.
Closely following the KAM, a new entrant with three candidates contesting the upcoming elections, another senior political analyst Deimaia Siangshai, said people here closely watch their politics.
KAM convener Angela Rangad and her colleagues have been in the streets fighting for the rights of the marginalised and the poor in the streets of Shillong.
"I have been meeting people at the comfort of their homes, listening to them and discussing the agenda of the people. I have almost completed visiting each one of the homes in South Shillong," Rangad told PTI.
"People prefer to sit down, talk and discuss issues with the candidates visiting them at their home. Those who manage to connect during the home visits are likely to get the votes," Siangshai said. PTI JOP RG RG