Congress staring at near total wipeout in GHADC, rebels say all 11 MDCs to jump ship

TURA, Dec 2: The main opposition party-Congress in the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council  (GHADC) is on shaky ground and staring at a possible wipeout from the council legislature with rebel MDCs giving a clear indication that they intend to jump ship to the Trinamool Congress and follow their leader Mukul Sangma.

The Congress, which won 12 seats in this year’s GHADC elections, lost Batabari MDC Ashahel D Shira to the UDP in October. Shira defected on being denied the party ticket to contest the Rajabala by-elections. He came a distant third in the by-poll.

Following the defection of 12 congress MLAs from the state legislature to Trinamool Congress, last week, it was only a matter of time before the MDCs followed suit.

Even as the entire 8 congress MLAs from Garo Hills marched off with Mukul Sangma displaying their loyalty to the leader, the 11 victorious party MDCs in the GHADC had also been handpicked by the former chief minister when ticket distribution took place ahead of the council polls.

“There is no question of anyone staying back. We are all united and shall be merging with the Trinamool Congress party within this week,” confirmed one of the rebel MDCs who spoke to The Shillong Times on Thursday night.

Interestingly, most of the rebel MDCs who are backing Mukul Sangma were spotted at the Trinamool’s rally in Songsak on Wednesday, and most recently, at Ampati on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Congress leadership in Garo Hills has told this scribe that not everyone is likely to walk away from the party.

The absence of Boldamgre MDC Stevie Marak from both trinamool rallies, at Songsak and Ampati, is being read by congress leaders as distancing from the mamata led party and Mukul Sangma.

But not many are buying into the congress claims given that Stevie Marak represents Boldamgre MDC seat which is part of Ampati legislative assembly seat- a proven fiefdom of Mukul Sangma.

A majority of the current MDCs are also loyalists and even represent the family of the former chief minister.

Mukul Sangma’s sister in law Sadhiarani Sangma is the wife of Zenith M Sangma, younger brother of the former chief minister.

There is also former Kharkutta MLA and current MDC Cherak W Momin, a known loyalist of Mukul Sangma for over ten long years.

The congress MDC from Betasing, a part of Ampati-Rangsakona assembly seats, is Sonjoy Koch who owes his rise in council politics to the former chief minister and his brother.

The Balachanda MDC Agassi R Marak is the younger son of former minister Late Clement R Marak. Both, Mukul Sangma and Late Clement Marak were long time friends and share a family bonding also.

The MDC from Songsak, currently Mukul Sangma’s seat in east Garo Hills, is represented by Lahitson M Sangma- another loyalist of the former CM.

Three other MDCs who have either taken part in the trinamool rallies or openly expressed their support to the former chief minister are Pardinand D Shira of Damas MDC constituency, Rinaldo K Sangma of Rongrong (Resubelpara) MDC seat and Alphonsus R Marak of Williamnagar MDC constituency.

Confusion prevails as to which side two other congress MDCs are likely to decide, namely Habibuz Zaman of Shyamnagar MDC seat (Phulbari) and Nehru D Sangma of Amongpara (Kherapara).

All these are expected to be played out within the next two days, as claimed by the rebels, unless the congress is able to move fast and nip the rebellion in the bud.

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