Meghalaya elections: Ex-CM Mukul Sangma says it will be TMC vs all parties in state
Sangma said that the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance, which Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma’s National People’s Party heads, was facing various charges of corruption.
Published: 15th February 2023 06:13 PM | Last Updated: 15th February 2023 06:19 PM | A+A A-
TURA: Former Meghalaya Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) stalwart Dr Mukul Sangma said the February 27 elections in the state would be a contest between the TMC and all other parties together.
Stating that the TMC would be a “factor” for other parties, he claimed that the people’s desire for a change was “palpable” and “visible” on the ground.
“As we go to elections, the TMC is on one side and the other parties together are on the other side. The (six) parties in the ruling dispensation have always been together but when they go to election hustings, they show their respective identity. However, the people of the state are fully aware of the ground realities. There is a desire for a change,” Sangma claimed while talking to this newspaper on the sidelines of a TMC rally at Rangsakona, 40 km from Tura in the Garo Hills.
He said it is a question of which party people can take the responsibility of charting the future of the state, adding that Meghalaya is a victim of not just a lack of governance but the greed of politicians.
Sangma also said that the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance, which Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) heads, was facing various charges of corruption and that all its constituents were collectively responsible for it.
Sangma then slammed the government over the illegal mining of coal and the non-appointment of primary school teachers. He said many government-run primary schools are closed because teachers were not appointed to vacant posts. “The government has deliberately delayed the start of the legal coal mining process because this allows it to continue to engage in the kind of illegalities that are going on which has drawn the attention of the judiciary. The scale at which it is happening cannot happen without the patronage of authorities. Coal is not a state subject but a central government subject. How can the BJP remain silent?” he asked.
The state will witness a multi-party contest. The TMC, NPP, BJP and Congress are contesting all 60 seats. Then, there are several smaller regional parties.
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in 2018 by winning 21 seats but the NPP formed a coalition government with support from the BJP and regional parties.
For this election, the TMC, a new entrant, is all charged up to upset the NPP apple cart. Sensing that the goings may not be easy for the NPP which faces a series of corruption charges, the TMC’s central leadership has focused more on Meghalaya than Tripura which is going to polls on February 16.
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The TMC, meanwhile, had a backdoor entry into Meghalaya. It had no base in the state but in November 2021, twelve Congress MLAs, led by Sangma merged themselves with the Mamata Banerjee-led party. The development had made the TMC the state’s principal opposition party overnight. However, later, four MLAs ditched the TMC in due course.
Sangma said the trend of MLAs defecting to other parties in Meghalaya started in 2018. He said he had quit the Congress as it was being controlled by Assam's BJP Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. “In the Assam elections, the Congress candidates were decided by Himanta Biswa Sarma. In Meghalaya too, he decided the Congress candidates. This is the Congress. So why should I be in the Congress?” he asked.