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Shillong, Nov 19: As many as eight sitting legislators will be joining the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) in January next year. This was informed by Rajya Sabha MP and NPP state chief Dr WR Kharlukhi on Saturday.

He said the eight MLAs belong to different political parties and they are all set to join the NPP ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections in the state.

Asked on the alleged move of 3 MLAs to quit the NPP, Dr Kharlukhi said, “This is the time when MLAs change sides. I know why they are changing also because if they remain with us they will not be getting tickets. So this is the situation.”

Sources informed Phulbari legislator SG Estamur Mominin and Selsella legislator Ferlin CA Sangma are likely to join the BJP and Raksamgre legislator Benedic Marak will join the opposition AITC.

On the BJP’s allegation that the recent arrest of its vice president Bernard N Marak was a clear political vendetta of the NPP due to fear of election, Dr Kharlukhi said, “If we feel threatened we would not fight election.”

“I have nothing to say on that. You have seen in the videos well if that (Rimpu) Bagan is for that then I don’t know… when he becomes MLA/minister the whole of Shillong would be like that I don’t want to say anything,” he added.

BJP state president Ernest Mawrie had on Wednesday challenged the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma to fight only from South Tura seat and not hedge his career by fighting on two seats – and face the might of the party’s vice president Bernard N Marak in the upcoming 2023 Assembly elections.

Commenting on this, Dr Kharlukhi said that the BJP is just a toothless tiger which will not dare to do anything. “I am not taking them seriously. How many times… I have told that they are just a toothless tiger and not doing anything; I don’t take them seriously…” he said.

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