NPP-Cong tussle fuelling electioneering in GH
TURA, April 7: Disenchantment among sections of party cadres and MDC aspirants within the two major parties — Congress and NPP — is fuelling the colourful election campaign for the April 12th GHADC polls in Garo Hills.
Cadres from both parties have witnessed heartbreaks and so-called ‘betrayals’ by wannabe leaders and their supporters which in turn has encouraged rival camps to woo them with a plethora of promises that gets transformed into a grand finale at public rallies where the ‘disenchanted’ opposition is ushered in before a deafening applause by the public for lending support.
These instances are a frequent work hazard for every political party in each election; but, the manner in which a Council election has become so high profile makes the story all the more interesting.
After all, state assembly elections are less than two years away and each party wants to send out a strong message on whose side the momentum is building up.
In the prestigious Tura MDC seat, long-time party leader, Grithalson Arengh, has turned rebel with a cause after the Congress bypassed him for a younger Kunal Ch Momin as the party candidate for the Tura MDC seat. Arengh had fought the last assembly polls from south Tura on a Congress ticket but failed at the hustling.
In South Garo Hills, where Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, has been extensively campaigning for his party candidates in five crucial MDC constituencies, a group of Congress and regional Garo National Council (GNC) party supporters merged with the NPP providing the ruling side with much-needed ammunition to take on the Opposition.
Congress leader from the once-militant-infested region of Chokpot in South Garo Hills, Jonilson Ch Marak, marched into the NPP camp with a group of disillusioned supporters from his erstwhile party and that of the GNC.
They were welcomed by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma in the presence of Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar at an election rally in Deku bazaar of Chokpot during campaign for party candidate from Rongrikimgre and sitting MDC Wenison Ch Marak.
Wenison Marak was a GNC MDC who switched camps to join the NPP along with his supporters. He is also a poaching offender who was taken to task by wildlife officials, over one year ago, for the killing of two rare jungle birds during a hunting trip.
“The fact that supporters from other parties are flocking to the NPP speaks volumes about the good work of the party founded by our late leader Late Purno A Sangma,” says the Manipur deputy chief minister as his words get translated into the language dialect for the benefit of the audience.
“Garo Hills is well-known in Delhi and all over the country because it had one of the greatest statesman from the North East — Late PA Sangma. He created the NPP and his ideology of uniting every community and tribe of the North East has led to us having a united voice,” says Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar.
Seeking voters’ support, the Manipur leader dismissed talk about a resurgent regional party in the state maintaining that it was only the NPP that can address the peoples’ issues.
Buoyant by the rebellion within the Congress where its supporters came over to the NPP, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma pointed out to the public that this election was about choice.
“There is a choice for the people to decide whether they will endorse our party which has brought in developmental projects in less than three years time or the Congress which could not do so despite being in power for ten long years,” says Conrad Sangma.
But the Congress is not the sole entity in the changing political sand dunes that is affecting the political campaign for the GHADC.
A day earlier, another group of party supporters, this time belonging to the NPP, tendered their resignation in the Jengjal and Asanang MDC constituencies where party candidates including younger brother in law of the chief minister, Anseng A Sangma (Asanang) is contesting the upcoming polls.
Those who have walked out of the NPP include former Dadenggre MLA Augustine D Marak and the Nokma (village chief) from Waram Songma village of Rongram, Mingjen Marak who was one of the aspirants for the party ticket.