UDP for coalition candidate in LS polls

Roy says party won’t demand Cabinet berth

SHILLONG: The UDP wants to have a common candidate supported by all coalition partners in next year’s Lok Sabha election.
Talking to media persons here on Thursday, UDP president Donkupar Roy said the matter has not been discussed with NPP and even the common candidate’s name has not been finalised.
When asked about UDP’s strategy for the upcoming district council polls, he said the party might go on its own as they know what will be the post-poll scenario in the state.
Roy asserted that there would be “no change in the current setup of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance”, which is running the government in the state, and UDP’s win in Ranikor has made the coalition stronger.
“I don’t see there will be any change in current setup of the MDA government,” he said while adding that the reports about UDP demanding a Cabinet berth for Pius Marwein is the opinion of a few and not the party.
“There is no more vacancy for a Cabinet berth as the state can have only 12 seats of ministers. The party will not bargain for any berth since it believes that the alliance should work as a team,” he added.
Congress role denied
When asked, Roy denied that UDP had any mutual understanding with the Congress for the by-election and wondered how the latter can help UDP by putting up its own candidate in the constituency.
MM Danggo who lost the Ranikor by-poll retained 90 percent of his original votes and UDP’s candidate Marwein got 4,000 more votes this time, Roy gave his calculations saying, “These votes came from the supporters of NPP, UDP and BJP, besides a small number of Congress people who voted for him.”
The former chief minister pointed out that money power was one of the important factors this by-poll and “the problem with regional parties is they don’t have sufficient funds to match the national parties”.
“If we had sufficient funds, regional parties would have won all the seats,” Roy, who is also the speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, said.

MDCs’ defection
Expressing concern over the MDCs frequently changing their party affiliations at the district council level, Roy added that all the parties are concerned about this and there is a need for an anti-defection law for MDCs.
“We need more responsible and disciplined persons as MDCs,” he added.
On the other hand, NPP leader Sniawbhalang Dhar said the party is happy as its coalition partner has won the election in Ranikor. “We are happy as Congress has lost one seat,” he added.

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