12 Cong MLAs led by Mukul join TMC

Rebels to meet Speaker today before formal announcement

NEW DELHI, Nov 24: Ending all speculations, former chief minister and Leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Mukul Sangma on Wednesday night left the party along with eleven MLAs and joined the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, effectively dealing a fatal blow to the grand old party.
The rebel MLAs, led by Mukul, submitted a letter to Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh on Wednesday night announcing their merger with the TMC.
Confirming the news, the Speaker told The Shillong Times that the 12 MLAs have official tendered their resignation from the Congress and are all set to join the TMC. He also said that he has received the letters of resignation from all the MLAs.
The Speaker also said that he will have to examine the procedures to be followed as per the provisions of the Tenth Schedule
They will meet the Speaker in the afternoon before formally announcing their new innings with the TMC at a press conference, one of the Congress MLAs told The Shillong Times on condition of anonymity.
“We are all joining TMC tomorrow and this is all for tonight,” he said without divulging further details.
With this development, TMC has effectively become the principal opposition party in Meghalaya. The strength of the Congress, on the other hand, has been reduced to single digits.
The rebels include four legislators from Khasi-Jaintia Hills region and all eight Congress MLAs from Garo Hills. Besides Mukul, the list of defectors includes Charles Pyngrope (Nongthymmai), Himalaya Shangpliang (Mawsynram), George B Lyngdoh (Umroi), Shitlang Pale (Sutnga-Saipung), Dikkanchi D Shira (Mahendraganj), Miani D Shira (Ampati), Zenith Sangma (Rangsakona), Marthon J Sangma (Mendipathar), Jimmy D Sangma (Tikrikilla), Winnerson D Sangma (Salmanpara) and Lazarus M Sangma (Chokpot).
The switchover would deal a body blow to the grand old party battling infighting and could change the political landscape in Meghalaya ahead of Assembly elections in 2023.
Congress sources said the number of MLAs set to go to the TMC will be sufficient to avoid anti-defection law. It allows merger (joining another party) by two-thirds. The Congress has 17 MLAs in the state.
The sources said TMC chief strategist Prashant Kishor’s team members, who have been camping in Shillong for the past two months, met several Congress MLAs. The MLAs were shown a list of party legislators keen on joining the TMC.
Once the MLAs are paraded before Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, they will expect him to issue the notification in this regard.
For the past two months or so, there have been reports that Congress stalwart Mukul Sangma may desert the party to be with the TMC. There was, however, no official word from the TMC. Sangma did not say anything either.
Some MLAs approached by the TMC had said back then that if the idea works out, this will be the end of the Congress in Meghalaya. They said although the party still has its support base in every constituency, infighting has become a major issue.
A Congress MLA said he is opposed to defecting to the TMC as he has already set his sight on the Assembly elections.
He also said that embracing the TMC will mean working with Sangma who has not been very active in party affairs in recent times.
The MLA added that depending on the political situation post-poll, he might join his colleagues in the TMC.
The efforts of the Congress high command to settle issues with senior leader Mukul failed with such a huge number of MLAs leaving the party and joining TMC. Everything has been lined up and with detailed preparations for the Assembly elections, due early 2023. (With inputs from Shillong bureau)

THE GAME-CHANGERS

Mukul M Sangma (Songsak)
Miani D Shira (Ampati)
Marthon J Sangma (Mendipathar)
Lazarus M Sangma (Chokpot)
Jimmy D Sangma (Tikrikilla)
George B Lyngdoh (Umroi)
Dikkanchi D Shira (Mahendraganj)
Charles Pyngrope (Nongthymmai)
Zenith Sangma (Rangsakona)
Winnerson D Sangma (Salmanpara)
Shitlang Pale (Sutnga-Saipung)
Himalaya Shangpliang (Mawsynram)

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