Hitler Comin-gone, Mody enters

What's in a name? Ask bomber of Meghalaya

By Sudipta Bhattacharjee in Shilong
  • Published 26.02.18
Prime Minister Narendra Mody at an election rally in Meghalaya last Thursday. PTI Picture

Shillong: If anyone doubts whether Meghalaya is ready for battle, consider the line-up of candidates for the February 27 Assembly polls: a Fieldmarshal, an Airmarshal, a Bomber and a Brigady.

Add to the fray an Alexander, a four-time winner who is possibly eyeing the "Great" suffix to his name by making it five in a row.

There's also a Frankenstein to boot, though voters seem not to have been turned off so far by the association the name evokes. If politics is the art of survival, Frankenstein, now in his seventies, is a veteran.

Still, one big name is missing from the battle roster: Adolf Hitler (Lu Marak, for those interested in his full name) is not contesting in the Garo hills this year. He has, however, actively campaigned for the BJP.

Stand-out names have been the hallmark of Meghalaya's elections, with the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes who inhabit the state choosing to name their children after famous personalities or the elements and sometimes the English translation of local words.

There are at least six contestants who have "son" in their first names: Hamletson, Goodleaderson, Masterson, Secondson, Hispreacherson and Pillarson.

Comingone, the face of a potential BJP ally, the NPP, at Raliang, doesn't quite know which way the wind is blowing. At Sutnga-Saipung, Hopeful Bamon does not appear short on optimism.

There are aspirants named Ian Botham and Kennedy, who are contesting from Mawphlang and Salmanpara, respectively, with a Boston for good measure, in case this "JFK" feels homesick.

Not to be outdone by the massive BJP overdrive in the state this year, an Independent candidate, Mody Sangma, is grabbing eyeballs, along with the Prime Minister himself. While BJP candidates have been given negligible space on the huge banners dotting the highway, Narendra Modi's outsized visage beams from every one of them.

Who will have the last laugh in the 60-member House will be known only on March 3 but that doesn't mean the run-up was short on a sense of humour.

Like a boss: Meghalaya BJP leader Alexander L. Hek leads an election rally in Shillong on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos