SHILLONG, Jan 15 (PTI): Amid protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Ernest Mawrie was elected as the president of the BJP's Meghalaya unit on Wednesday.
Agitators of the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisation (CoMSO), an outfit that has been leading the anti-CAA stir in the state, staged a protest march stopping short of the BJP's state office here.
Mawrie succeeded Shibun Lyngdoh, who is now the national executive member of the BJP from the state.
He was unanimously elected in an election overseen by Union minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan and BJP national secretary Sunil Deodhar, party sources said.
AL Hek and David Kharsati, who were also in the fray for the post, withdrew their nominations and supported Mawrie's candidature, Deodhar said.
"His election to the top post of the party in the state is crucial as it is during his term that Meghalaya will go to elections in 2023," the BJP national secretary said.
The election of Mawrie, who is a tribal and a Christian, will help the party boost its image, which has been portrayed by opposition parties as 'anti-tribal' and 'anti- Christian', a senior BJP leader said.
Mawrie, speaking on CAA and the Inner Line Permit (ILP) during his maiden press meet as the state BJP president, said, "I will have to speak to my party and see where we stand though it has always been in our manifesto."
BJP leaders Balyan, Deodhar and Mawrie later met CoMSO leaders and assured them of fixing a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The state Assembly had in December last year passed a resolution seeking implementation of the ILP in the state.