Polling in two Parliamentary seats of Meghalaya-Shillong and Tura-is being held in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 11.
Both the Lok Sabha seats are reserved for members of the Scheduled Tribe community of the northeastern state.
Like all northeastern states, Meghalaya has vociferously protested against the Citizenship Bill. The controversial legislation is expected to be a key poll issue that determines the preference of the electorate in the state in this Lok Sabha election.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who heads the NPP, had even threatened to quit from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance if the bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Citizenship Bill could potentially spoil the BJP’s poll prospects in Meghalaya, where it came to power at the mercy of NPP.
Another issue that has kept the state government on its toes is the ban on mining activities in Meghalaya. The ban has significantly dented the state’s revenue generation capability.
In 2015, just a year after the ban on mining activities in the state, the state government said the loss due to the ban on mining activities in the mineral-rich state would lead to a loss of Rs 600 crore per annum.
Since a large section of the population in the northeastern state is made up of tribals, both the Citizenship Bill and the mining policy will play a crucial role in determining the Lok Sabha election result in Meghalaya.