GUWAHATI: The en bloc defections of Meghalaya Congress MLAs, other elected members and workers to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) are continuing.
The party suffered the latest blow in its stronghold Garo Hills when all its 11 elected members of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) deserted the party and donned TMC colours on Thursday evening.
This comes just days after 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs ditched the party to be with the TMC, thereby dramatically making it the state’s principal opposition party.
During the intervening period, 400 Youth Congress members resigned from the party and 600 others quit the National Students’ Union of India. They are likely to join the Mamata Banerjee-led party.
The GHADC was formed in 1952 when Meghalaya was a part of Assam and this is for the first time that the Congress does not have an elected representative in it. In the last GHADC election held in April this year, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party by winning 12 of the 30 seats. Later, one defected to the regional United Democratic Party to contest a by-election.
The TMC welcomed the 11 council members to the party fold at a function held on Thursday. Several MLAs of the party were present.
Two days ago, TMC state leader and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had made an offer to the remaining five Congress MLAs to join the party.
He had asked them to understand the ground reality and take a conscious decision, stating that if they meant business and wanted to serve their people, they should jump the Congress ship.
Sangma had predicted a large-scale defection of leaders and workers from the Congress and other parties to the TMC, within and outside Meghalaya.
The trouble for the Congress in Meghalaya began two months ago when Shillong MP Vincent H Pala was appointed as the party’s state president. Sangma, the then leader of Opposition and Congress Legislature Party leader, was the sole contender for the CM post and he felt threatened by Pala’s appointment. Eventually, he and 11 other Congress MLAs, loyal to him, ditched the party.
The development has relegated the Congress to a smaller party. It is now a shadow of its glorious past.