TMC apt as pan-India opposition: Mukul

Regional parties have become the BJP’s B teams: Former CM

SHILLONG, Nov 25: After years of ruling Meghalaya or holding its own as a strong opposition, Congress has been depleted with 12 of its MLAs including former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and former Assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope “merging” with the Mamata Banerjee-led All India Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The political drama had unfolded on September 21 when Sangma met senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee in Kolkata. It culminated at 1 pm on Thursday when the former CM presented his team before the media in the state capital.
The others who donned the TMC colours are Himalaya Shangpliang, George Lyngdoh, Shitlang Pale, Dikkanchi Shira, Miani Shira, Zenith Sangma, Winnerson Sangma, Marthon Sangma, Lazarus Sangma, Jimmy Sangma.
The former CM said the switchover was the culmination of their exhaustive analysis and due diligence. He added that they decided to join the TMC as it has been on a high after defeating the BJP in West Bengal.
“A complete sense of commitment towards serving the people made us take this decision. In the 2018 Assembly elections, we were confident of forming the government but could not. There were post-poll activities to poach our members,” he said.
He also said Wednesday’s decision was made “to fulfil the responsibilities of protecting the state and country”.
The former CM said their decision was in line with the long-drawn exercise to find a viable pan-India option that can take care of Meghalaya, the Northeast, and the rest of India.
When asked why they did not join any regional party, he said no party other than TMC has been fighting the divisive forces.
“The BJP knows that the people of Meghalaya are not going to incline towards them. Hence, it made the regional parties their B teams,” he said, resenting the tilt of the National People’s Party towards the saffron brigade.
“The pulse of the people said there is a need for a strong alternative political party,” he said, denying allegations that he left Congress due to a tiff with MPCC president Vincent H. Pala.
Stating that the country must understand the prevailing political situation, the former CM said he and 11 other MLAs looked at available space and tried their best to revive Congress, but those efforts bore no fruit.
Lamenting that Congress is failing to respond to the call of duty as the main opposition in the country, he said they embarked upon an exercise to find a viable pan-India option that can take care of the state and the country. The exercise led to the TMC. Revealing that he had met TMC’s main strategist Prashant Kishor, the former CM said they share the same objective in the interest of the people.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” he said when asked how the TMC will prepare for the 2023 Assembly polls about 14 months away.
Pyngrope said that as leaders, they are expected to live up to the expectations of the people and deliver to them. “We needed a space wherein our potential to work as leaders can be utilised to the optimum,” he said.
He also said his views and those of Prashant Kishor to take the country forward to fight communal forces match. This made them decide to take the same path.
After the briefing, the 12 MLAs also met Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh who wanted the physical presence of all the MLAs merging with the TMC.
Later in the evening, two TMC ministers from West Bengal arrived in the city and handed over the party flags to their 12 new legislators.

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