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Congress blames ‘money power’ for debacle, NPP points at division

Ampareen says not a big loss for party

Shillong, Nov 2: The Congress on Tuesday blamed “money power” for its poll debacle while the NPP pointed at the fissures in the national party.

Congress MLA from East Shillong Ampareen Lyngdoh said the party leaders visited all the three constituencies and voiced concerns over lack of development.

“But when the result comes, it indicates that money played a very big role in these elections. We are not going to deny that infighting within the party is one of the main reasons for this debacle but you must not also forget that over and above an internal issue of instability within our own party, comes the big role that money is playing in Meghalaya politics,” she said.

The Congress came second in all the three constituencies. NPP won both Mawryngkneng and Rajabala seats, which were once the Congress’s stronghold. The UDP, NPP’s ally in the coalition government, won the Mawphlang seat.

“We know that the National People’s Party (NPP) or any other party or even the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government will say, why don’t you file FIR, but it is impossible to consolidate and file an FIR because obviously nobody will come up and expose their practices,” she added.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the Congress was divided in Rajabala and several Congress leaders and workers were working for the UDP candidate.

“I could see Congress leaders were working for the UDP candidate in the hill area, so there was a clear division within the Congress party and I am sure that a similar thing happened in Mawryngkneng and Mawphlang,” Sangma said.

“Clearly this division, infighting and the blame game that is there have reflected in the results… it is a very bad result for them and I am sure that the party leadership will think about how to repair and how to move forward,” he added.

While Sangma saw a bleaker future for the Congress, Lyngdoh asserted that it was not a great loss and that the fight was close in Rajabala where Sangma campaigned for 10 days.

“Half of the population is still with the Congress as they still share the same concern about the issues that are there before people and this region in general,” she said.

“This loss in the two elections of East Khasi Hills and Rajabala were not big losses considering the amount of money that was pumped in, I think they will also have to sit back and evaluate their performances. We thank those Congress men and women, citizens of East Khasi Hills and Rajabala who showed their trust and faith in the Congress,” she added.

‘A gimmick’?

On the allegation of the deputy chief minister that the Congress is a sinking ship, Lyngdoh said, “I don’t understand, that being the deputy chief minister and an important member of the NPP, he would invite politicians to come and join either UDP or NPP since even the NPP has fielded candidate for Mawphlang constituency.”

Lyngdoh wondered whether UDP and NPP fielding candidates in Mawphlang was a gimmick. “Who are they trying to fool,” she said.

On the preparation of the party for the 2023 elections, the MLA said the party will not reveal everything at once.

“I will use the words of my leader in the Congress party who used to say not everything will be revealed and will be kept close to our chest, we will use the same formula at this point of time” she added.

‘Tough’ competition

Sangma said the bypolls were tough for the NPP because the two seats which the party won “have been traditionally won by the opposition Congress”.

In 2013, the NPP managed to get 450 votes in Rajabala, in 2018 4,800 votes and in this election, 11,823 votes, a jump of almost 7,000 votes.

“The fight has been tough and yet the people have put their trust because of the agendas and the works of this government,” Sangma said.

The chief minister pointed out that while the opposition brought allegations of misconduct against the government, the NPP eschewed mudslinging and focused on the “politics of development, politics of progressive movement, election and a campaign of issues of the people and that’s how we have been doing it”.

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