TMC assured autonomy to Mukul’s team

Congress had ignored a proposal to make Charles Pyngrope MPCC chief, triggering dissent

SHILLONG, Dec 1: The assurance of Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, Mamata Banerjee to give autonomy to the leaders of Meghalaya to take decisions was the factor that prompted the 12 MLAs to quit Congress and join the West Bengal-origin party, one of these legislators said.
“All of us were tired with the attitude of the Congress high command,” he said on condition of anonymity.
“Congress did not give us autonomy. It remote-controlled everything from Delhi,” the MLA said.
“We had unanimously proposed the name of Charles Pyngrope to be appointed as the MPCC chief. But someone else was appointed without consulting the MLAs. We would have gone nowhere if he stayed with Congress,” he said.
The MLA said Banerjee reassured the 12 Meghalaya MLAs led by Mukul Sangma in the first meeting by saying the TMC was no different from Congress in terms of secular outlook.
“She (Banerjee) told us the major difference is that the TMC believes in autonomy to let us decide what is best for our state, which should be in good hands. She said the party will not dictate terms from Kolkata,” he said.
Stating that the TMC showed its capability by leading the government in West Bengal for three terms, the MLA said the party proved to be a formidable opponent of the BJP.
“Since regional parties were not an option, we wanted a party that can fight the BJP,” he said. He said the BJP may not have much presence in Meghalaya, but it has been propping up the NPP to carry forward its non-secular and divisive agenda in the state.
“The 12 of us could never join a right-wing party or its ally. The BJP is trying to package its communal agenda differently in Meghalaya by using the NPP,” he said.
The MLA said the BJP started with the Hindu-Muslim divide and is not trying to hammer a wedge among the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo people.
He trashed theories that the TMC would cut a sorry figure in the state because of its “Bangla party” tag. “Congress was called a non-tribal party when it had entered Meghalaya,” he reminded.
He said there was a similar narrative when Captain W.A. Sangma and his group quit the APHLC and joined Congress in 1976.
He also pointed out that the NPP is tagged as a Garo party. “We need to understand that politics is about ideology to connect with the people with a secular outlook in tune with the Constitution of India,” he added.

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