The opposition Congress in Meghalaya is on the verge of collapse with more legislators in talks with other political parties to switch over ahead of the crucial 2023 assembly polls.
Congress insiders said that some of the legislators are holding parleys with the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP), a key ally in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government, to switch sides.
In fact, the Congress party is in tatters after 12 of it’s legislators led by two-time Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma switched over to Trinamool Congress after the “party leadership didn’t consult him with the appointment of incumbent Lok Sabha member from Shillong Vincent H. Pala as president of Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee. After the defection, the Congress was left with Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh, Process T Sawkmie, Mayralborn Syiem, Mohendro Rapsang and Kimfa Sidney Marbaniang. These legislators are from Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi region and the Congress at present has no representation from Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills region.
Lyngdoh was made the CLP leader after the defection. The Congress won the 2018 Assembly election with 21 legislators in the 60-member House and it was the single largest party, but failed to cobble up alliance partners. The second largest party, the NPP with 20 seats, acted swiftly and forged an alliance and formed a six-party MDA government. UDP insiders said one of the legislators, Sawkmie, is in advanced talks with the UDP, and is likely to contest the 2023 assembly elections on UDP ticket from Mawlai assembly constituency.
“As of now I don’t want to comment anything. Let the time come and we will see to it,” Sawkmie said.
Sawkmie first won the elections to the 60-member assembly House in 1998 as a UDP candidate from Mawlai assembly constituency.
Meanwhile, Lyngdoh hinted that she is aware of the unease within the party and soon she would take steps to prevent further split within the party. “Confusion prevails, but if the leaders take collective and cohesive decisions, political turn around can still occur. I will evaluate accordingly and take a call,” Lyngdoh said.
Interestingly, Lyngdoh’s husband and Congress Member of the Khasi Hills autonomous District Council, Fantin Lakadong is all set to switch over to the NPP.
Asked about her husband, the senior Congress legislator said, her husband is a public figure and he would take his own decision as per the wish of the people of his constituency.
“I am an MLA elected by my supporters from the INC. I will complete this commitment to my people till the end of my term,” she said.
Moreover, Lyngdoh said the party leaders have to take decisions with regards to the party and also her future. “I have sacrificed all within me to serve the party and for the interest of my people and my state,” she said.