Banking on NPP to raise Garoland issue in Delhi, says Kalpana

GNC chief denies rift in party; looks at expanding base

From Saurav Borah

TURA: The Garo National Council firmly believes that the Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party will strongly raise its core demand for a separate Garoland in Parliament.
The political party, founded by Clifford R Marak in 1992, maintained it was clear on its core demand and has been supporting NPP because its founder, late PA Sangma, had consistently raised the demand in Parliament.
“Late PA Sangma had promised my husband in a meeting here before that his party would support GNC’s demand for Garoland. In fact, as a Parliamentarian (for nine times), he had raised the demand for small states in the country. So we have always been with his party in parliamentary polls,” GNC president and Marak’s wife, Kalpana D Sangma, said in an exclusive interview with The Shillong Times at her Arai Mile residence here, minutes before moving out to her home constituency, Chokpot (South Garo Hills) to campaign for NPP on Thursday afternoon.
However, she said that in Assembly or district council elections, the GNC had always contested the polls alone. “We have been very consistent in this policy,” Kalpana said.
Putting all talk of the party being a “divided house” to rest, the GNC chief categorically said that “all members of the party are together” on the issue of support to NPP.
“We are united. It is only Nikman Ch Marak, the chairman of the central executive committee of Garoland State Movement Committee (an offshoot of GNC), who had in his individual capacity extended support to Congress. But GSMC has always worked for and supported GNC,” she said.
The demand for a separate state, Garoland, has been at the core of GNC’s agenda for almost three decades now.
“In the district council also one of our MDCs is there in the executive committee led by NPP. In the state we have alliance with United Democratic Party, which is in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government led by Conrad K Sangma,” the senior leader said, further substantiating her party’s support for NPP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
GNC currently does not have a legislator in the state Assembly.
On how GNC looks at NPP candidate and former MP, Agatha Sangma, she said, “Well, we believe she is capable of raising our issue in Parliament. In fact, we firmly believe that NPP will fulfill our core demand.”
On the criticism that she has not preformed to the extent she should have, Kalpana said it was not fair to judge Agatha who has not had a full term as MP.”
About GNC’s road map, Kalpana says she wants to expand and scale it up to a national party. “We want to establish GNC as a national party as we move ahead,” she said.

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