Former FKJGP chief, senior journalist join UDP

Rani, Shabong stress the need for regional power in state

Shillong, Aug 17: The United Democratic Party (UDP) on Wednesday gained two prominent members, a development that the party sees as “beneficial” ahead of the Assembly elections next year.

Welcoming former president of the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) Wellbirth Rani and proprietor and editor of a vernacular daily Monarch Shabong, UDP chief Metbah Lyngdoh said, “The joining of both Shabong and Rani will be beneficial to the party as both of them are vocal when it comes to issues pertaining to the interest of the people of the state.”


“It will be a blessing to the party in gathering more crowd and leaders into the party,” he added.

That prominent people and leaders from other parties are joining UDP is an indication that the party will lead the state government in 2023, Lyngdoh observed.

The party had secured eight seats in the 2018 election and decided to join the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance. It has gained popularity since and went on to Ranikor seat in the 2018 bypolls and Mawphlang in the 2021 bypolls. The party also retained Shella after byelection to the constituency was held in 2019 following the death of its president Donkupar Roy.

According to Rani, joining UDP was a collective decision of his supporters. “My objective to come and join the UDP is to strengthen the regional forces… I feel it is the need of the hour to have a government led by a regional party,” he said.

Seconding Lyngdoh, Rani said the current trend hints at UDP’s victory in 2023 because “people believe that a government led by a regional party can play a vital role in resolving the pending issues once and for all”.

Shabong later said, “In the last 50 years, our state had been governed or ruled by a party from outside the state and this is one of the reasons that the state witnessed several pending issues like the inner line permit and border (conflicts).”

The former FKJGP chief assured that his joining a political party would not stop him from taking up the issues which he would be vocal about during his previous role.

Emphasising the need for strengthening regional forces, Shabong said the state needs leaders who will go to Delhi not just for schemes but also present people’s demands to the Centre.

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