Syiem suspended; Cong loses 5 MDCs

MPCC president DD Lapang speaks during the special meeting to discuss the Congress strategy for the council by-polls, in the city on Friday. (ST)
MPCC president DD Lapang speaks during the special meeting to discuss the Congress strategy for the council by-polls, in the city on Friday. (ST)

SHILLONG: In a swift political development, five Congress MDCs have resigned from the party following the suspension of KHADC CEM and Congress member P.N Syiem from the party by the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) citing anti-party activities.
The suspension is a strong message to Syiem as he was vocal against Chief Minister Mukul Sangma over the Dual Post Act which was brought by the Congress-led government resulting in the by-polls to seven vacant district council seats.
The five Congress members who resigned on Friday are Parliamentary Party secretary Antonio War, Victor Ranee, Hadrian Lyngdoh, Albinus Lyngdoh and Banteidor Lyngdoh.
Meanwhile, KHADC CEM P.N. Syiem told reporters that he has not received any official communication from the party functionaries. “The news of a one-year suspension was verbal but no official communication has been received”, he added.
Maintaining a firm stand, he said, “As a representative, I have to look into issues which serve the interests of the people. If suspended, it will not affect my MLA/MDC status, while the post of the CEM will depend on the support of the executive members (EM) of the KHADC.”
Commenting on the resignation of the executive members, Syiem said that it was up to their wisdom to do so.
KHADC had 11 Congress members which now has been reduced to five after the suspension of Syiem and the resignation of five others. The MDCs who are still with the Congress are P.T Sawkmie, Donovan Wahlang, Manstudy Nongrem, Lamphrang Blah and Jansing Tynsong.
Speaking to reporters, War said, “We will give our support to P.N Syiem. So far, whatever decision has been taken has been collectively. If the party suspended him, they should suspend us too.”
Banteidor said they were informed of the development on Friday at around 2 pm. Ranee was not available for comments as he is reportedly out of station.
Earlier, after the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting attended by 5 Congress MDCs out of the total 11, Manstudy Nongrem was elected as the new PP leader. The meeting was held at the residence of party president D.D Lapang.
Lapang told reporters after the meeting that the two-time MLA (Syiem) has been suspended based on the direction of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).
Lapang said AICC general secretary in charge Meghalaya, C.P Joshi, is of the view that Syiem should be suspended; however, the time frame  for the suspension is yet to be decided.
“The AICC had been apprised for quite some time about his activities and his behavior. We tried to get things together and the AICC has been patient. It seems that there cannot be a compromise since he has been making statements against the party and the government before the media”, he said.
Asserting that the AICC has taken note of the media reports, Lapang said former KHADC chief Manstudy Nongrem, who is presently the KHADC chairman, has been appointed as the new leader in place of Syiem.
However, Lapang downplayed the resignation of the five Congress MDCs and said the party is yet to accept their resignation since the letters were brought by P.N Syiem himself. It was informed that the MDCs also called up Lapang expressing their desire for a dialogue over the issue.

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