GUWAHATI: From four seats each in 2009 and 2014, it has been nothing short of a debacle for Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) in the district council elections with the regional party not winning a single seat.
All the eight candidates fielded by the party lost while two others from the party, who contested as Independents in the wake of rivalry within, also could not make it to the top.
Given the “leadership crisis” with the existence of two factions, one led by North Shillong MLA, Adelbert Nongrum and the other by the party’s president, Pyndapborthiaw Saibon, the poll outcome does not come as a surprise though.
“The outcome is disappointing but not surprising. People got confused after the turn of events in the run up to the ADC elections,” Saibon told The Shillong Times on Saturday.
There was confusion regarding the legitimacy of the candidates fielded by Adelbert as well in run-up to the ADC polls, which however was claimed to be cleared later.
Saibon had to field two candidates as Independents in a bid to avoid any controversy, even as there was a “tussle” for the party symbol (dao) between his candidate, Thomas Passah and Strong Pillar Kharjana, the candidate fielded by Nongrum representing Jaiaw constituency.
“However, the fact that my candidate in Jaiaw got more votes than Kharjana, is a consolation even as it is disappointing that the party has drawn a blank,” he added.
KHNAM, formed in 2002 as a movement for change, has just Nongrum as the lone MLA from the party in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government.
The district council elections are not governed by ECI guidelines unlike Assembly and general elections. However the ECI had prior to the polls, written to Saibon, advising the party to resolve the “dispute either amicably or else by the orders of a competent court.”
Nongrum had earlier told this correspondent that the ECI had approved him as the president of KHNAM. Saibon had even gone to Delhi to lodge a complaint with ECI against the newly formed body (headed by Nongrum).