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From Our Correspondent
NONGPOH: With barely a year for the Assembly election in Meghalaya, the United Democratic Party (UDP) still seems indecisive about who to field as candidate from the newly created constituency of Umsning as the party has to make a choice between four heavyweights — former Umroi MDC Field Marshall Mawphniang, former KSU North Khasi Hills district president Donkupar Sumer, advocate and UDP leader Lurshai Wahlang and former school headmistress Jennifer Joan Kylla.
The newly created constituency will comprise parts of Nongpoh, Mawhati and Umroi constituenciesy presently represented by DD Lapang (Congress), Donbok Khymdeit (UDP) and Stanley Wiss Rymbai (Congress) respectively.
According to political observers and opinions sought from cross section of the people from Umsning constituency, Mawphniang may have a slight edge over the other three candidates in the fray for the UDP ticket from Umsning.
Of the four aspirants only Mawphniang had been an elected public representative in the capacity of MDC and was also the Executive Member in the various Executive Committees of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC). Hence he is acquainted with the roles and functions of an elected public representative, which many feel would benefit the people of Umsning constituency.
Mawphniang has also been past president of the Ri Bhoi Youth Federation and has the advantage of being a social worker cum elected public representative.
Earlier this year, Lurshai Wahlang one of the ticket seekers, declared that he was alloted the party ticket for Umsning seat as per decision of the election committee of Umsning UDP Block Committee which was denounced by the other three personalities in the fray on grounds that the selection process was partial and biased toward him. Wahlang was also reprimanded by UDP supremo and former Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy for his action. It was also viewed as ‘height of desperation’ by the electorates of Umsning Constituency on the part of Wahlang.
Meanwhile the other aspirant Sumer has required qualities as a public leader as he had been a leader of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) for several years but how far will this take him is anybody’s guess as he is not yet in active politics.
While, Jennifer Kylla may have the support of the women groups of the UDP as she is the president but she may not be able to garner many votes from the masses as she is predominantly from Umsning area. Compared to Mawphniang and Sumer, she is the least popular, according to political observers.
The contest would be mainly between the Congress whose probable candidate is Nongpoh MDC Dr Celestine Lyngdoh and the UDP while independent candidate D Sohkhlet may cause hiccups.
Also the probability of the FKJGP North Khasi Hills President Eddie Kharbani jumping into the fray cannot be ruled out.