Cong panel clears only 28 names

From CK Nayak

New Delhi: Congress, which is boasting of forming next Government on its own in Meghalaya, seems unable to ensure an early decision of its candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.

The screening committee, which met here on Thursday night, could not decide on more than half of the Assembly seats including that of the sitting legislators and ministers. The committee, later, left the decision on the party high command.

A screening committee meeting, chaired by Mrs Ambika Soni, failed to decide candidates on controversial seats.

The Committee cleared candidates of those constituencies which had single aspirant. But most constituencies have two or more names forcing the committee to refer them to the Central Election Authority (CEA).

The CEA headed by veteran leader Oscar Fernandese will meet here on Friday to take the final call and may seek AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s last minute intervention, party sources said.

The committee on Thursday cleared 20 names out of 36 constituencies of Khasi-Jaintia Hills. Similarly, out of 24 constituencies in Garo Hills, only eight names got the Soni-led committee’s clearance. But the same has also to be vetted by the CEA on Friday.

In Thursday’s meeting all the Members — Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, MPCC president DD Lapang, AICC General Secretary Dr Dhaniram Shandil and veteran Congress spokesman PC Chakko were present.

Earlier in the day, former Union Minister Vincent Pala, former PCC chief O L Nongtdu, former Minister Saydullah Nongrum, Forest Minister Prestone Tynsong had met AICC leaders separately to air their views.

Interestingly, the Chief Minister, the MPCC chief, former Chief Minister Salseng Marak, Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh, Speaker Charles Pyngrope are among those whose names were cleared on Thursday. Our Staff reporter adds: Meanwhile, the AICC secretary in-charge of Meghalaya Sanjay Bapna said that the CEA would finalise the list of candidates during Friday’s meeting.

“The CEA would submit the final list to Mrs Gandhi for her approval,” Bapna told The Shillong Times over telephone from Delhi on Thursday.

Meanwhile, party sources revealed that the formal announcement of the party candidates is likely to be made on January 10.

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