Three-corner Meghalaya contest: Conrad says split in Oppn votes to help NPP

I foresee a big division of Opposition votes. The Congress is down to zero MLAs. They (12 Congress MLAs) joined TMC but many (four) deserted it.

Published: 14th February 2023 09:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2023 09:36 AM   |  A+A-

Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma

Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

TURA(MEGHALAYA): Ahead of the Meghalaya elections, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has to use all his might to keep up the flag of his National People’s Party (NPP), a legacy of his father, former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma. The Conrad government has faced corruption charges, and the Trinamool Congress stands in its way to the finishing line in the elections, which also has the BJP and Congress in the fray. Conrad says he is confident of a win.

Excerpt from an interview: 

How do you assess the upcoming contest?
I foresee a big division of Opposition votes. The Congress is down to zero MLAs. They (12 Congress MLAs) joined TMC but many (four) deserted it. People will look at NPP as a strong option to choose. 
We expect to better our previous score (19).  Garo Hills region (it has 24 of the state’s 60 seats), where you come from, virtually decides the fate of parties. 

Can TMC upset NPP through the efforts of ex-CM Mukul Sangma?
The Congress and TMC have set up candidates in every seat there. A division of their vote banks will help us. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said NPP is BJP’s “A-team’… Anybody can say anything. We are contesting on our ideology. Post elections, we look at how we can work with others. We have been with the NDA for a long time.

Your government has faced corruption charges. Parties, including the BJP, sought a CBI probe. Why didn’t you accept?
We had judicial and independent inquiries. CBI can’t be doing everything. If some facts had come out indicating wrongdoings, we would have gone to CBI.

Do you see a challenge in the South Tura seat that you are contesting from?
We have done a lot of work there. We’ve resolved issues of water supply, road connectivity, etc. I expect to win comfortably.

Why should people re-elect NPP?
The law and order situation has improved. Insurgency is almost zero. We are achieving targets in different schemes. The MGNREGA budget jumped from Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,800 crore. Meghalaya is one of the best-performing states in Jal Jeevan Mission. From the worst-performing state in PMGSY, it has become one of the best-performing states. Immunisation of children is rising to 95% from 50%. The state’s budget doubled from Rs 9,000 crore in 2018 in 2023. We have provided a stable government despite having six coalition partners.



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