PDF chief puts misunderstanding tag on rift in party

SHILLONG: PN Syiem, the chairman of the People’s Democratic Front (PDF), has downplayed the rift in the party calling it “a minor misunderstanding”.
The fissures in the party have become apparent with five MDCs of the party recently shifting allegiance to the HS Shylla-led Khasi Hills Democratic Alliance, reducing the strength of the PDF in the KHADC to only two.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Syiem said, “In the past few months and days, I cannot deny that there were misunderstandings in the party. It happens in every party. It will ensure that things run smoothly.”
The beleaguered leader, who lost the by-poll in Ranikor after a humiliating defeat in Mawsynram to Congress’s HM Shangpliang in the Assembly election, said PDF’s central working committee, in its last meeting,
endorsed four MLAs Banteidor Lyngdoh, Gavin Mylliemngap, Jason S Mawlong and Hamlet Dohling – with the task of giving recommendations for smooth functioning.
The KHADC setback has put the PDF, which was formed last year before the Assembly election, on a wobbly platform. Its one of the two MDCs, Grace Mary Kharpuri, had been critical of the party saying it should either take strong action against the five KHADC members or dissolve the party for good.
On the MDCs supporting the KHDA, Syiem said, “Cannot comment now as it will be discussed in the next CWC meeting. Misunderstandings can be discussed and resolved at the meeting.”
Syiem downplayed the act of the five MDCs and said they have not sidelined him but “they have their own individual idea but there is a need for party direction”.
He informed that the issues of conflict within the party will be discussed in the next CWC meeting while it is also waiting for a report from the four MDCs.
“There will be no talks on council elections as the party will have to sort out the differences and move ahead… In the district Council anything can happen at any time,” said the leader who despite the tough time remained steadfast.
Asserting that the PDF was formed on the ground of fighting for issues such as rights of traditional heads, MUDA, land problems at Saitsohpen and mineral issue, Syiem said, “As a leader of the party I am concerned that we have not been able to achieve the issue of the party. Even if I lost the election, the importance of the party lies in focusing on the issues of the party.”
No regret about Ranikor
On Ranikor by-poll, Syiem said he did not regret contesting the election and cited the instance of former chief minister DD Lapang when he lost the election in 1993 and that current CM Conrad Sangma also lost elections. “I have nothing to regret but will work to improve the system.”
On the performance of the MDA government, Syiem refused to make any comment stating that PDF is also part of the government.
He also refused to comment on the performance of PDF ministers Banteidor Lyngdoh and Hamlet Dohling.

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