Cong in disarray after six defeats
SHILLONG: The Congress is in a disarray following its string of poor performances in recent elections with CLP leader and former chief minister Mukul Sangma finding himself in the cross hairs.
Except for the Ampati bypoll in May last year, which saw Mukul’s daughter winning the seat vacated by him to retain Songsak after winning two seats in the Assembly polls, the Congress has not been able to win five other Assembly bypolls and the Tura Lok Sabha election.
After the Assembly polls in February 2018, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 21 seats while the NPP secured 19 seats.
The Congress could not convince its previous coalition members-UDP, HSPDP and others— to support the party to form a Congress-led government like in the past.
This paved the way for the formation of NPP-led coalition government supported by the UDP and others.
In less than two years, the Congress lost six elections, including the one to the Tura Lok Sabha seat in May which was secured by NPP leader Agatha Sangma at the cost of Mukul.
Earlier, the former MLA of Williamnagar, Deborah Marak from the Congress, could not retain the seat after the deferred election to the seat in April last year following the killing of NCP candidate Jonathone Sangma. Infighting in the Congress was blamed for the defeat of Deborah at the hands of NPP candidate Marcuise Marak.
In August last, in the simultaneous bypolls conducted for South Tura and Ranikor, the winners were Conrad Sangma (NPP) and Pius Marwein (UDP).
The bye-election for South Tura was necessitated after the chief minister resigned as MP for his entry into the Assembly.
In fact, Ranikor was traditionally a Congress seat as its MLA Martin Danggo held the post for several terms.
Though he resigned from the Congress to contest from NPP, he was not lucky enough to win the seat as it went to the MDA partner and UDP candidate.
The next setback for the Congress was losing yet another sure seat- Selsella.
The bypoll in Selsella in April this year was necessitated after the death of sitting Congress MLA Clement Marak who was close to the CLP leader.
There was criticism that Mukul could not ensure the victory of Congress candidate June Eliana R Marak, the widow of Clement, as she lost to NPP’s Ferlin CA Sangma.
After the defeat of the Congress candidate in the just-concluded bypoll in Shella, Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh has called for a review meeting and introspection indicating wrong selection of the candidate.
The Congress candidate, Batyngshain Laitmon Ryngnga, was pushed to the fourth place as he got only 1715 votes.
Traditionally, Congress candidates had performed better in Shella.
In 1993 and 1998 Assembly polls, UDP leader Donkupar Roy won the seat by a margin of only 742 and 811 votes respectively and his nearest rival was G. Granderson Syiemlieh of the Congress.
In 2003, Syiemlieh again contested on Congress ticket and secured third position.
In 2008, Congress candidate Leston Wanswett was the runner-up as Roy won the seat with a margin of 93.
1. Williamnagar: Deborah Marak (Cong) loses
2. Ranikor: Cong loses MLA Danggo and seat
3. South Tura: Congress loses
4: Selsella: Bypoll after Cong MLA Clement dies, loses seat
5: Shella: Cong candidate loses
6: Tura LS seat: Mukul Sangma loses